2016 Evesham Wood, Cuvée J Pinot Noir, $49.75
Winery Info: Founded by Russ and Mary Raney in 1986. After 24 years they retired and turned the winery over to Erin Nuccio with whom they had worked for many vintages. It was a seamless transition as Erin and Russ share the same winemaking and vine-tending philosophy, heavily influenced and mentored from the beginning by the legendary Burgundian winemakers, Henri Jayer and Michel Niellon. The use a proprietary yeast in all of their Pinots which Russ isolated from a bottle of 1986 Jayer Echezeaux. Their Cuvée J is named in honor of Henri Jayer and is intended to be their top cuvée.
Winemaker: Erin Nuccio
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, a six-barrel selection sourced from their estate vineyard.
Vineyard source: Their dry-farmed, certified organic estate vineyard, le Puits Sec, in the Eola-Amity Hills. The 30-year-old, vines planted on Nekia and Jory soils, produce Pinots with great structure and finesse.
Flavor profile: 2016 was another extremely warm vintage, but it cooled down towards the end, which helped preserve acidity and structure in the resulting wines. This Pinot is beautifully expressive and elegant, with lovely flavors of ripe plums and cherry and hints of sage. They find that their proprietary yeast imparts a particularly velvety texture in this cuvée.
Availability: About 150 cases produced. This vintage is almost gone.
Drinkability: Very approachable now or over the next two to three years.
Food Pairing: Herb roasted chicken, duck, game, salmon with beurre rouge and mushrooms, or fall root vegetable dishes
2017 Cristom Vineyards, Mt. Jefferson Cuvée, Pinot Noir, $35
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. The winery is located 43 miles from the Pacific Ocean, with vines planted on volcanic soils in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Their estate vineyards are all farmed biodynamically and sustainably. Today the Gerries’ son Tom is the owner and winegrower.
Winemaker: Steve Doerner, who has been Cristom’s head winemaker since its first vintage.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir from Dijon, Pommard, and Wädenswil clones. Aged in barrel for 12 months.
Vineyard source: A blend of fruit from 21 different vineyard sites, with 60% from their estate vineyards, plus exceptional fruit from neighboring vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Flavor profile: Sourced from a variety of soil types, elevations, and aspects with each site adding character and structure, the Mt. Jefferson Cuvée conveys a sense of the Willamette Valley Appellation as a whole. It is ripe, yet elegant, with supple texture and flavors of dark fruit and herbs and hints of earth.
Production/Availability: 9835 cases. It should be available for a while.
Drinkability: Fresh and approachable now, or over the next two to three years.
Food Pairing: You could pair this with roast duck, lamb, or mushroom risotto.