2015 David Hill Winery, Black Jack Pinot Noir, $60
Winery info: Located in the northern Willamette Valley near Forest Grove, David Hill is owned by Milan and Jean Stoyanov who bought the property in 1992. The farmstead itself dates back to the 1880s, when homesteaders living there produced wine from vineyards planted on the site. In 1965 Charles Coury arrived with rootstock from Alsace and Burgundy and began planting what is now David Hill Vineyard. These are some of the earliest plantings of Pinot Noir in the valley and Clory’s historic vineyard site is still planted with his original vines. Justin Van Zanten is the winemaker.
Grapes: 100% Coury Clone Pinot Noir, from vines planted in 1965. Aged 14 months in 40% new French oak.
Vineyard: Block 21 of their 40-acre estate vineyard on their property in the northern Willamette Valley. The mature, ungrafted vines are grown on Laurelwood soil and their roots now reach down to basalt layers, allowing the fruit to express a true sense of place.
Flavor Profile: The 2015 vintage was long and even, with a cooling trend in late summer that allowed for extended hang time and slow ripening. In this excellent vintage, the Coury clone developed “classic aromatics of pine forest and jammy fig.” The wine has bright fruit up front, and wonderful concentration of flavor, with a long, lingering finish.
Availability: This wine is very limited.
Drinkability: With its structured acidity, this Pinot should age nicely, through about 2024.
Food Pairing: Given its weight, this Pinot would be a good match for grilled pork chops with wild rice and mushrooms.
2017 Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Chardonnay, $41
Winery info: Hamilton Russell was founded in 1975 in the cool, maritime Walker Bay region, southeast of Cape Town. The winery is the southernmost wine estate in South Africa and the closest to the sea, and their focus is on terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. After conducting extensive research throughout their estate in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, they identified 52 hectares of stony, clay-rich soil, perfect for producing wine with the unique, expressive style they were after. With small yields and high demand throughout the world, their wines are always in limited supply.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay. Aged 90% in 228-liter French oak barrels (plus 5% in stainless steel, 4% in foudre, and 1% in concrete eggs)
Vineyard: Their estate vineyard, with stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil.
Flavor Profile: Elegant and stylish, with the classic purity and complexity that Hamilton Russell Chards are known for. 2017 was an excellent vintage, producing a particularly lovely wine with bright, natural acidity, balanced minerality, and inviting depth of flavor.
Availability: Just under 6000 cases produced. It is still available from the distributor.
Drinkability: Already quite complex, it will continue to develop over the next five years.
Food Pairing: Prawn bisque, seared, or pancetta-wrapped scallops, sea bass, or rich poultry dishes.