2018 Evesham Wood, Cuvée J Pinot Noir, $55
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 their top cuvée.
Winemaker: Erin Nuccio
Grapes: A six-barrel selection of their best Pinot Noir. Aged 22 months in French oak, 25% new.
Vineyard: 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: The folks at Evesham Wood have always felt that their proprietary yeast imparts a particularly velvety texture in this cuvée. From the warm 2018 vintage, the Cuvée J is even more textural and elegant than usual. While rich and concentrated, it is beautifully expressive, with red and dark fruit flavors, a hint of spice, and balancing freshness and acidity.
Production: 145 cases made. It is still in fairly good supply.
Drinking Window: This one is delicious now or up to 2028.
Food Pairing: Great with herb-roasted chicken, duck, salmon with mushrooms, or root vegetable dishes.
2019 David Hill Vineyards and Winery, “Whole Cluster” Pinot Noir, $28
Winery Info: David Hill is one of the oldest and northernmost wineries in the Willamette Valley. It is owned by Milan and Jean Stoyanov who bought the property near Forest Grove in 1992. The farmstead itself dates back to the 1880s, when homesteaders there were already producing wine from vineyards planted on the site. In 1965 Charles Coury arrived with rootstock from Alsace and Burgundy and began planting what is now David Hill Vineyard. These are some of the earliest plantings of Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley. Work is currently underway on getting sub-AVA status established for this unique site.
Winemaker: Chad Stock became winemaker at David Hill in 2019. He previously worked at Antica Terra in addition to his own label, Minimus.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged in neutral French oak barrique for 15 months. Because of the long, cool growing season, the fruit ripened late enough to harvest fully mature clusters and ferment together with the stems for this unique take on Pinot Noir.
Vineyard: Their estate vineyard, planted and dry farmed on Laurelwood soil. The roots of the old vines now reach down to the basalt layer enabling the resulting wines to fully express the character of the terroir.
Flavor Profile: We found this wine reminiscent of a good Beaujolais. It is fresh, juicy, and floral, with notes of ripe blueberry, garden herbs, and forest floor. It has soft acidity, a nice sense of warmth and rusticity, and “aromas reminiscent of a damp Pacific Northwest hike,”
Production: There is not much left of this vintage.
Drinking Window: Enjoy over the next three years or so.
Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with mushroom-based dishes, antipasti, or charcuterie.