2018 Eyrie Vineyards, Estate Pinot Noir, $47
Winery Info: Eyrie is arguably the most historic and important winery in Oregon. It was founded by David Lett who planted the first Pinot Noir grapes in the Willamette Valley in 1965.
His first vintage was 1970 and a mere five years later his 1975 Pinot placed tenth among Pinot Noirs in the Paris Wine Olympics (it placed second at a rematch), bringing international attention to Oregon wines. Eyrie wines have always been known for their elegance and light-handed style, earning Lett the nickname “Papa Pinot.” He passed away in 2008 but his son Jason continues to carry on the family legacy, focusing on natural, minimal intervention winemaking, with spontaneous fermentations, no chemicals, no fining, and minimal filtration.
Winemaker: Jason Lett, who took over from his father in 2005.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged in mostly neutral oak (8% new)
Vineyard: A blend of fruit from Eyrie’s five certified-organic estate vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA. The vines are grown in volcanic soils and are unirrigated.
Flavor Profile: A classic Eyrie Oregon Pinot, it is aromatic and fresh, with inviting complexity and depth, wonderful texture, and pure, focused flavors of brambly red fruit. Notes of savory herbs and spice and hints of earth evolve on the palate as the wine opens up.
Availability: 1,885 cases produced. This wine is still in good supply for now.
Drinking Window: This Pinot is quite approachable young or you could cellar it up to around 2028.
Food Pairing: Try it with lighter meat dishes or savory mushroom risotto.
2019 Iris Vineyards, Areté Brut Blanc de Blancs, $32
Winery Info: Iris is located in the southern Willamette Valley, about 20 minutes southwest of Eugene. Eugene-natives and founders Pamela Frye and Richard Boyles based their winery on the ancient Greek concept of Areté—a value that exemplifies the ideal of realizing one’s fullest potential and the continuous endeavor toward excellence. They produced their first vintage in 2001. In 2008 they brought on winemaker Aaron Lieberman who had previously worked at Amity Vineyards, De Ponte Cellars, and Owen Roe.
Winemaker: Aaron Lieberman
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay. Fermented and aged in mature 100% French oak puncheons and barrels.
Vineyard: Chalice Vineyard, in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range, with Jory and Bellpine soil. The dry-farmed, cool-climate site allows the grapes to mature slowly, developing good acid balance.
Flavor Profile: This is a lovely sparkling wine, with mouthwatering notes of citrus, a nice sense of richness, and fresh, balancing acidity. The oak aging adds texture, complexity, and inviting notes of brioche. The kind of profile we love in grower Champagne, but at half the price!
Availability: This wine is still in good supply.
Drinking Window: Enjoy anytime over the next two to three years.
Food Pairing: This bubbly would be perfect with seared scallops or shrimp, or roasted cauliflower.