2016 Holocene, Memorialis Pinot Noir, $49.75
Winery Info: Force Majeure is an ultra-premium winery in Woodinville specializing in estate-grown, single-vineyard Bordeaux- and Rhône-inspired wines. Todd Alexander, formerly winemaker at Napa’s highly-acclaimed Bryant Family Vineyard, was brought on as winemaker in 2014. Under his Holocene label Todd produces Pinot Noir from small, unique vineyards in Oregon.
Winemaker: Todd Alexander
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged in 40% new French oak.
Vineyard source: A single vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA on a west-facing hillside with marine-sedimentary soils.
Flavor profile: Sourced from an inherently warmer site, this Pinot is medium- to full-bodied, with a rich, round profile, and savory flavors of red and blue fruits, licorice, and a touch of damp earth. Beautifully textured and elegant, with fresh, balancing acidity.
Availability: This wine is very limited.
Drinkability: Anytime, up to around 2021.
Food Pairing: This Pinot would pair well with foods with complex, savory, or mildly spicy flavors.
2014 Colene Clemens Vineyards, Margo Pinot Noir, $36
Winery Info: Founded by Joe and Vicki Stark in 2005. They began with an abandoned farmstead and orchard on a steep, rocky, south-facing slope on the western edge of the Chehalem Mountains where they converge with Ribbon Ridge. Actual wine production began in 2008. The property is named in honor of Vicki’s mother, and this wine, Margo, is named for Joe and Vicki’s granddaughter.
Winemaker: Stephen Goff. Also vineyard manager, he worked as assistant winemaker for six years at Beaux Frères before joining Colene Clemens.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, blended from select vineyard blocks and barrels. Aged 11 months in French oak.
Vineyard: Their estate vineyard, with sedimentary and volcanic soils, at elevations between 350 to 650 feet planted to five different Pinot Noir clones: three Dijon, plus Pommard and Wadenswil.
Flavor profile: Margo is “designed to be very approachable, vibrant, and broad on the palate.” From the warm, dry 2014 vintage, this Pinot is medium- to full-bodied, with excellent structure and savory flavors of dark cherries and plums, and earthy notes of forest floor.
Production/Availability: 1667 cases produced. The distributor is nearly out of this vintage.
Drinkability: Enjoy this wine anytime over the next two to three years, up to 2021 or so.
Food Pairing: Very food-friendly, this Pinot would pair well with duck, lamb, or salmon.