2017 Brick House, “Les Dijonnais” Pinot Noir, $57
Winery Info: Doug Tunnell owner, winemaker, and vineyard manager of Newberg-based Brick House Vineyards, planted his first vines in 1990. Since then his estate has grown to 40-acres, and he still oversees it today. His wines are all estate-grown, certified organic and bio-dynamic, and fermented with native yeasts. The “Les Dijonnais” Pinot is made from the best barrels from their estate vineyard, located on Ribbon Ridge, a sub-AVA of the larger Chehalem Mountains AVA.
Winemaker: Doug Tunnell
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, a blend of five Dijon clones (113, 114, 115, 667, and 777). Aged in 35% new French oak barrels for over 16 months.
Vineyard: The Dijon block of their estate vineyard, situated on a south-facing ridge. It is the warmest site on their farm and, as they note, produces “a more floral interpretation of the grape.” Ribbon Ridge is a spur of uplifted ocean sedimentary Willakenzie soil. The upper elevations twist like a ribbon, hence the name.
Flavor profile: Very elegant and aromatic, with smooth, velvety texture and warm notes of red brambly fruit, dried earth, and a touch of spice. It shows the subtle notes of rose petal that the site tends to produce.
Production: About 700 cases made. There is still a bit of this vintage left.
Drinking window: It is lovely now but should be at its best from around 2025 to 2028.
Food Pairing: This is a great Pinot for Boeuf Bourguignon, roast lamb, or mushroom risotto.
2019 Colene Clemons, Dopp Creek Pinot Noir, $29.75
Winery Info: Colene Clemons was founded by Joe and Vicki Stark in 2005 and named in honor of Vicki’s mother. They began with an abandoned farmstead and orchard on a steep, rocky, south-facing slope on the western edge of the Chehalem Mountains where they converge with Ribbon Ridge. They began actual wine production in 2008. Today their estate spans 122 acres.
Winemaker: Stephen Goff. Also vineyard manager, he worked as assistant winemaker for six years at Beaux Frères before joining Colene Clemens.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, 29% Pommard, 22% Wädenswil, and Dijon clones 667 (21%), 115 (14%), 777 (12%) and 114 (2%)
Vineyard: Three blocks of their estate vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. The sites include sedimentary Wellsdale and Hazelaire soils as well as volcanic Witzel soils.
Flavor profile: Dopp Creek is crafted to represent the broadest expression of their estate and is their most approachable and versatile wine. The winery notes that 2019 was a return to a classic Oregon vintage, with few heat spikes in the summer, producing a smooth, supple Pinot with pretty notes of red fruit, savory herbs, and warm spice. It is clean, balanced, and well-structured.
Production: 4,408 cases produced. There is still some of this vintage left with the distributor.
Drinking window: Drinking beautifully now, this Pinot will continue to age gracefully over the next five to eight years.
Food Pairing: This one is a no-brainer for spring salmon.