2015 Lachini Vineyards, Estate Pinot Noir, $60
Winery Info: Ron and Marianne Lachini planted their first vines in 1997 and released their first vintage in 2001. Located in the Chehalem Mouuntains AVA of Oregon’s north Willamette Valley, their goal is “the patient pursuit to craft world-class Pinot Noir.”
Winemaker: Matthieu Gille, originally from Burgundy’s Nuits St. Georges, where his family has been making wine since the 16th century.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir from eight different clones, including Pommard, Dijon, and Wädenswill. Aged 18 months in French oak, 25% new.
Vineyard source: This is their flagship blend from their biodynamically farmed estate vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains. Sourced from the East, Middle, and West blocks of the vineyard.
Flavor profile: 2015 was a warm vintage with ample yields, producing an expressive and classically structured Pinot with aromas of ripe red fruit, wild herbs, and smooth, dark fruit flavors. It is full bodied and balanced, with seamless acidity and silky tannins.
Availability: 2020 cases made. This wine is still in good supply.
Drinkability: Delicious now, or up to 2023.
Food Pairing: Being from a riper vintage, this Pinot is very versatile. You could pair it with seared salmon, roast duck, or braised pork.
2016 Cristom Vineyards, Viognier, $29.75
Winery Info: Cristom was established in 1992 by Paul and Eileen Gerrie who shared a deep respect for the land, the natural winemaking process, and Pinot Noir. They were among the first to plant Viognier in the Willamette Valley, and the first winery to produce an estate bottling of the grape, with their 1996 vintage. Today the Gerries’ son Tom is the second-generation owner and winegrower.
Winemaker: Steve Doerner
Grapes: 100% Viognier, barrel-fermented in a combination of neutral oak and stainless steel. Aged nine months on its lees in barrel after malolactic fermentation.
Vineyard source: From their estate vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, with Missoula flood sedimentary soil.
Flavor profile: A fresh and pure expression of Viogner, with subtle floral aromas and notes of ripe stone fruit and a lovely mouthfeel. Its lushness is perfectly balanced by fresh, food-friendly acidity.
Production/Availability: 978 cases made. There is not a huge supply left of this wine.
Drinkability: Now or over the next year or so.
Food Pairing: Seafood and shellfish (perhaps seared scallops), roasted or grilled poultry, or mildly spicy Asian cuisine.