2017 The Eyrie Vineyards, Oregon Pinot Meunier, $47
Winery Info: Founded by David Lett who planted the first Pinot Noir grapes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1965. His first vintage was 1970 and his 1975 Pinot Noir placed tenth among Pinots in the Wine Olympics in Paris. Eyrie wines have always been known for their elegance and light-handed style, earning Lett the nickname “Papa Pinot.” He was also the first Oregon winemaker to plant Pinot Meunier, one of the three main grapes used in Champagne (the other two being Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). It is rare to find a still wine made from the grape and we are always excited when we find one. Eyrie produces a very limited amount of Pinot Meunier.
Winemaker: In 2005 Jason Lett took over from his father (who passed away in 2008) and continues the family legacy.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Meunier
Vineyard: Sourced from their Eyrie and Daphne vineyards in the Dundee Hills. Organically farmed on red volcanic soils.
Flavor profile: This wine is low in alcohol (12%), letting all of the bright, juicy flavors of raspberry and blue fruit shine through. It is delightfully fresh and vibrant, with good acidity, soft texture, and a subtle touch of herbs.
Production: Only 420 cases produced, this wine is in limited supply.
Drinkability: If drinking soon, give it some time to open up. We really liked it the second day. Or you could lay it down it for six months to a year.
Food Pairing: Try it with pork, duck, savory mushroom dishes, or with roast chicken or other fowl.
2018 David Paige Wines, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, $39.75
Winery Info: David Paige was winemaker at Adelsheim Vineyards for nearly two decades before he decided to create his own label. He founded David Paige Wines in 2018 along with two partners. Their RPG Vineyard (which reflects the last names of the three men, George Rickus, David Paige, and John Gorup), is located in the Eola-Amity Hills
Winemaker: David Paige
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir aged in 25% new French oak.
Vineyard: A blend of fruit from vineyards in three AVAs, including their estate RPG vineyard. The wine reflects a mix of sites and soils, from sandy marine sedimentary (Ribbon Ridge), Laurelwood (Chehalem Mountains), and volcanic (Eola-Amity Hills).
Flavor profile: A complex mix of both red and dark fruits, with hints of savory earth and spice. It is very smooth and balanced, with just the right amount of richness and ripeness and a long, evolving finish.
Production: 400 cases produced. It is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: Delicious now, but it will continue to evolve for another three to five years.
Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with poultry, duck, or other meats, especially with more savory preparations, perhaps involving seasonal mushrooms.