2018 Elizabeth Chambers Cellar, Pinot Noir, $49
Winery Info: Elizabeth (Liz) Chambers first became involved in wine in 1993 when her mother acquired Hinman Vineyards, which later became Silvan Ridge.
While working as general manager at Silvan Ridge, Liz discovered her passion for Pinot Noir. She founded her eponymous winery in 2013 in a historic building that was once the McMinnville power plant. Her goal is to produce delicately balanced, distinctive Pinot Noirs that reflect some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Winemaker: Drew Voit, who has previously worked at Shea Wine Cellars and Domaine Serene, and was assistant winemaker for Liz at Silvan Ridge. He also has his own label, Harper Voit.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir (Dijon clones 777, 667 and Swan), aged 11 months in 25% new French oak.
Vineyard: Lazy River Vineyard, situated at 300 to 500 feet in elevation on steep, south-facing slopes in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. It is a relatively cool site, with marine sediment and volcanic Jory soils.
Flavor Profile: Very expressive and aromatic, with a lush, velvety mouthfeel and dark fruit flavors of plum, blackberry, and a hint of white pepper. It has great presence and depth.
Availability: 350 cases produced. The distributor has just a few cases left of this vintage.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now or over the next three or four years.
Food Pairing: This Pinot would pair well with roast duck, roasted vegetables, or pork dishes.
2019 Lemelson Vineyards, Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir, $29.75
Winery Info: Eric Lemelson planted his first vineyard in 1995 and his first release was from the 1999 vintage. His dream from the beginning has been to “celebrate innovation in technology, sustainability in agriculture, and tradition in winemaking.” Today he has seven organically farmed estate vineyards in the northern Willamette Valley and his winery is located in Carlton, Oregon. Thea’s Selection is their house cuvée, blended from three different AVAs and crafted to showcase the nuances of each site and the character of the vintage.
Winemaker: Matt Wengel, with associate winemaker, Ashley Campion
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged 15 months in 25% new and 75 previously filled French oak barrels.
Vineyard: Their seven organically-farmed estate vineyards spread across three different Willamette Valley AVAs: Yamhill-Carlton, with WillaKenzie sedimentary soil; Dundee Hills, with Jory and Nekia volcanic soils; and Chehalem Mountains, with Jory soil.
Flavor Profile: Inviting and complex, with smooth, savory notes of dark red fruit and subtle hints of earthy spice and black tea. With smooth tannins and a nice touch of forest floor, it is a very approachable Pinot.
Availability: This wine is in good supply for now.
Drinking Window: Now or over the next five to six years.
Food Pairing: Try it with roast leg of lamb with rosemary and cous cous or a Portobello mushroom burger with bacon and smoky mayo. Or a wild mushroom risotto.