2014 Brittan Vineyards, “Gestalt Block” Pinot Noir, $62
Winery Info: Brittan Vineyards was founded by Robert Brittan, who had previously worked for 16 years as winemaker and estate manager at Stag’s Leap Winery in Napa.
Robert and his wife Ellen began in 2004 with a 128-acre hillside site on the edge of Oregon’s Coast Range in the McMinnville AVA. The original 18 acres of vineyards had been planted in 2001 but after purchasing the property, the Brittans worked to improve and revitalize the original vines, replanting and fine tuning the clonal and soil combinations.
Winemaker: Robert Brittan
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, clones 115, 667, and 777. Aged 12 months in 35% new French oak.
Vineyard: The southwest-facing Gestalt Block of their estate vineyard, which sits atop younger, more compact basalt soil. The site receives strong winds blowing in through the Van Duzer Corridor, which tends to produce smaller, more concentrated berries that result in structured wines with good acidity.
Flavor Profile: 2014 was a rare vintage that produced fruit of both quality and quantity. This Pinot, now with a nice bit of age, is elegant and expressive, with dark fruit flavors, stony minerality, and a nice hint of earthiness. With lovely texture, fresh, food-friendly acidity, and soft tannins.
Availability: 370 cases made. The winery is sold out of the 2014 and the distributor has just a bit left.
Drinking Window: Now or over the next three to four years.
Food Pairing: You could pair this one with duck or other rich, flavorful fare.
2019 Coelho Family Winery, White Pinot Noir, $25
Winery Info: In 1991 Dave and Deolinda Coelho moved from California to Amity, Oregon where they began planting their estate vineyard. Their family name (pronounced “quail-oh”) is Portuguese for rabbit and reflects their Portuguese winemaking heritage (both of their grandfathers used to make their own wine). The Coelhos bottled their first vintage in 2004, and have since added two additional vineyards near their winery. They produce single-vineyard wines all from their estate fruit.
Winemaker: Chris Bertshce has been in charge of winemaking since 2016. He previously worked with Jacques Lardier (of Jadot and Résonance), James Frey (at Trisaetum), and in Sonoma County.
Grapes: 100% Dijon 777 clone Pinot Noir. Pressed “following a Champagne press protocol,” then fermented without the skins at cool temperatures in Acacia and French oak puncheons and aged on the lees with no stirring for eight months.
Vineyard: 70% from Delfina Vineyard, in the McMinnville AVA (with volcanic soil) and 30% from their Coelho estate vineyard, in the Van Duzer Corridor AVA (with Missoula Flood sedimentary soil).
Flavor Profile: This white wine, made from red grapes, has a slight golden rose color and fresh, clean flavors of stone fruit (ripe white peaches, nectarines, and yellow plums) and a nice touch of citrus. The lees aging adds richness and complexity, and its refreshing acidity keeps the wine balanced and inviting.
Availability: They don’t make a lot of this wine but there is still some left of this vintage.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now or over the next couple of years.
Food Pairing: The winery says this wine is “dynamite when paired with spicy foods such as pad Thai or salty foods such as prosciutto and melon.”