2015 Domaine Serene, Yamhill Cuvée, Pinot Noir, $55.50
Winery Info: Founded in 1989 by Ken and Grace Evenstad in the Dundee Hills in the northern Willamette Valley. They have six distinct vineyard estates, with a diversity of soils, microclimates, clones, and aspects, producing wines with remarkable complexity and elegance. They grow exclusively Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and practice environmentally responsible and sustainable farming.
Winemaker: Michael Fay is Director of Winemaking and Viticulture.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged 15 months in 45% new French oak.
Vineyard source: Blended from each of their main vineyard estates in Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills, and Eola-Amity Hills, and named for the county where all of these estates are found.
Flavor profile: Very expressive and elegant, with aromas of cocoa, red fruit, and cloves, and plush, red and blue fruit flavors. It is a rich and seamless wine, with silky tannins and a long, lingering finish.
Availability: This is the last of this vintage and the distributor has moved onto the 2016.
Drinkability: Delicious now, or you could cellar it up to 2025.
Food Pairing: Enjoy with roast chicken, beef Bourguignon, or salmon.
2014 Lemelson, Reserve Chardonnay, $31
Winery Info: Eric Lemelson planted his first vineyard in 1995 and his first release was from the 1999 vintage. All along he was guided by his dream to “create a winery that celebrates innovation in technology, sustainability in agriculture, and tradition in winemaking.” Today he has seven vineyards, in the northern Willamette Valley, all organically farmed. He produces his wines at his state-of-the-art winery in Carlton, Oregon.
Winemaker: Eric Lemelson
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, from Dijon clones 76 and 95. Aged 15 months in 30% new and 70% previously-filled French oak barrels.
Vineyard source: Three estate vineyards, from three different AVAs: Johnson Vineyard on sedimentary Willakenzie soil (Yamhill-Carlton AVA), Wascher Vineyard with Willakenzie sedimentary soil (Dundee Hills AVA), and Chestnut Hill Vineyard with Jory volcanic soil (Chehalem Mountain AVA).
Flavor profile: The 2014 vintage was warm and fruit ripened earlier than usual, but they picked early to preserve the vibrancy and freshness of the grapes. This Chard is rich and elegant, with aromas of fresh fruit and spice. The delicate oak treatment adds complexity, but it is very much balanced by fresh, natural acidity and minerality.
Production/Availability: 436 cases produced. The 2015 has already been released and there is not much of the 2014 vintage left.
Drinkability: Now or over the next few years.
Food Pairing: Creamy dishes such as lobster or chicken alfredo.