2016 Ayoub, Anonimo, Pinot Noir, $55
Winery Info: Owned and operated by Mohamad “Mo” Ayoub. He planted his estate Ayoub Vineyard in 2001 on a steep, four-acre, southeast-facing slope in the Dundee Hills and released his first vintage in 2005. His production remains small, but the accolades are effusive. David Schildknecht, of the Wine Advocate, wrote, “his fanaticism is paying off in some of the most exciting wines produced anywhere in North America not to mention the Willamette Valley.” And Rex Pickett, author of “Sideways,” said: “Ayoub’s wines are … some of the finest expressions of the Pinot Noir grape I’ve ever tasted.”
Winemaker: Mo Ayoub
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard source: Anonimo, a new vineyard Mo planted with nine different Pinot Noir clones in the Dundee Hills, near his Estate Vineyard. This is Mo’s inaugural release from this vineyard.
Flavor profile: Aromas of cocoa and toasted walnut lead to flavors of smooth, dark fruit with savory notes of mineral and spice. A very expressive and well-structured Pinot.
Availability: 270 cases made. There is still more available.
Drinkability: Now through 2024.
Food Pairing: This is definitely an excellent Pinot for salmon.
2017 Minimus, “I Have Powdery Mildew,” Grüner Veltliner, $29.75
Winery Info: Minimus is the creation of Chad Stock, who worked at Antica Terra, and Johan and Durant Vineyards (as well as Two Hands, in the Barossa Valley), before founding his own winery in 2011. Decidedly unconventional (he’s been called America’s most avant-garde winemaker), he produces a bewildering number of one-time-only, often experimental, very small-batch wines using a variety of techniques—some more intentional than others. But they are never boring! He is also winemaker at Omero.
Winemaker: Chad Stock
Grapes: 100% Grüner Veltliner. The vines developed powdery mildew, but Chad decided to vinify the fruit anyway, to see what sort of wine it would produce.
Vineyard: Johan Vineyard, a relatively cool site with marine sedimentary soil, adjacent to the Van Duzer Corrider. Biodynamically farmed.
Flavor profile: Vines respond to powdery mildew by creating a compound called rotundone, which produces peppery notes in the resulting fruit. The mildew also concentrates the acid and sugar, adding a savory, mushroom quality. This has resulted in an intriguing and complex Grüner, with a panoply of inviting flavors.
Production/Availability: 55 cases made. This wine is extremely limited.
Drinkability: Enjoy now or over the next year or so.
Food Pairing: Salad, appetizers, or dishes with a mushroom-based cream sauce.