2014 Ken Wright Cellars, Bonnie Jean Vineyard Pinot Noir, $58
Winery Info: Ken Wright founded his eponymous winery in 1994 in Carlton, Oregon and since then has become one of the state’s most respected winemakers. He is passionate about showcasing the influence of the distinct sites he uses in each of his single-vineyard wines, firmly believing that Pinot Noir is one of the best grapes for conveying the character of the soil in which it is grown. In a feature article on Ken in 2014, Wine Spectator called him the “Master of Pinot Noir in Oregon.” We’ve featured Ken’s Pinots from at least seven different vineyards in past clubs. This is our first offering from Bonnie Jean Vineyard.
Winemaker: Ken Wright
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir from several different clones
Vineyard source: Bonnie Jean Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Situated between 400 and 450 feet in elevation with a mix of Wellsdale and Willakenzie marine sedimentary soil.
Flavor profile: Very aromatic, with floral and spice notes and smooth, savory flavors of juicy dark cherries and hints of warm baking spices. Wonderfully soft and elegant.
Availability: There is not much left of this vintage.
Drinkability: Drinking beautifully now through 2023.
Food Pairing: Savory or complex fare, such as roast chicken, grilled fish, or boeuf Bourguignon.
2017 Leah Jørgensen, “Tour Rain,” $29
Winery Info: Portland-based winemaker Leah Jørgensen seeks to make “pretty wines in the Pacific Northwest, one barrel at a time, 100% inspired by the wines of the Loire.” She began her career on the east coast working in wine distribution, which is where she fell in love with Loire Valley wines. After moving to Oregon she worked with various wineries, including Anne Amie Vineyards, Erath, and Shea Wine Cellars before founding her own winery. Her focus is on Cabernet Franc.
Winemaker: Leah Jørgensen
Grapes: Roughly 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Gamay, a blend inspired by the red wines of the Loire Valley. The wine’s name is a play on ‘Touraine,’ a wine region in the heart of the Loire.
Vineyard source: Not a lot of information is available on this vintage but in the past, the Cab Franc has been sourced from Mae’s Vineyard, in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, a site that consistently produces very balanced fruit, while the Gamay has come from Havlin Vineyard in the Van Duzer corridor where the maritime breezes provide a cooling effect on the fruit as it ripens.
Flavor profile: A lovely, fresh wine, with inviting floral aromatics and bright juicy flavors of cherry, pomegranate, and a touch of herbs. Very balanced with nice acidity and soft tannins.
Production/Availability: Leah doesn’t make a lot, but as a fairly recent release it is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: It is ready to drink anytime over the next few years. Try it lightly chilled!
Food Pairing: Pair with simply prepared beef, venison, or duck, or with mushroom-based dishes.