2021 Patricia Green, “Volcanic,” Pinot Noir, $55
Winery Info: Founded by Patty Green and Jim Anderson in 2000.
They quickly became one of Oregon’s most respected wineries, even though they always preferred to keep a low profile and did not seek out accolades or recognition. When Patty died suddenly in November 2017, Jim vowed to carry on making their iconic wines noting, “We learned lessons together over 25 years so the beauty and special nature of the wines from Patricia Green Cellars is going to live on.” This wine is part of their “Soil Series,” begun in 2005 to highlight the two main types of soils in which their wines are grown: marine, and volcanic.
Winemaker: Jim Anderson
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, from organically grown vines ranging from 22 to 50 years in age.
Vineyard: A blend of barrels from five vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA: Balcombe (Pommard clone, planted in 1990), Durant (Bishop Block, Pommard, 1973 and Madrone Block, Dijon 115, 2001), Anderson Family (Dijon 115, 1992), Arcus (Pommard, 1990), and Weber (Pommard, 1978). Dundee Hills is a relatively warm site, with lava-based volcanic soil mixed with silt, loam, and clay.
Flavor Profile: The rich, dense soil of the vineyards produces aromatic wines with lush, full flavor, beautiful silky texture, and velvety tannins. Elegant and complex, with great minerality and soft, spicy notes from the Pinot Noir, this wine continues to open up and evolve, even over several days.
Availability: The distributor is getting low on this vintage.
Drinking Window: This Pinot is still rather young (although it did open up beautifully after being open a couple of days). If you can, give it three to five years, then enjoy anytime up to 2030.
Food Pairing: Perfect for grilled salmon, roast chicken, or wild mushroom dishes.
2020 Eyrie Vineyards, Trifolium, $36
Winery Info: Founded by David Lett who planted the first Pinot Noir grapes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1965. Ten years later his 1975 Pinot Noir placed tenth among Pinots in the Wine Olympics in Paris, helping put Oregon on the international wine map. Eyrie wines have always been known for their elegance and light-handed style, earning Lett the nickname “Papa Pinot.” He was the first Oregon winemaker to plant Pinot Meunier (one of the three main grapes used in Champagne), and his son Jason, who took over winemaking from his father in 2005, planted the Willamette Valley’s first Trousseau in 2012.
Winemaker: Jason Lett
Grapes: 77% Pinot Noir, 15% Trousseau, and 8% Pinot Meunier, aged 28 months in French oak, 17% new. Trousseau is a dark red grape indigenous to the Jura region of northeastern France.
Vineyard: Trifolium is a blend of all three red varieties grown on Eyrie’s five estate vineyards, planted on sedimentary and volcanic Jory soil and farmed using organic and biodynamic practices.
Flavor Profile: The wine blends the dark berry, spice, and earthiness of the Trousseau, with the juicy, brambly flavors of the Pinot Meunier, and the aromatic, complex profile of the Pinot Noir, resulting in a unique wine with notes of dark fruit, herbs, and forest floor. It is smooth and savory, with a lingering finish.
Availability: 2,619 cases produced. It is in decent supply for now.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now, or up to 2028.
Food Pairing: Great for savory foods with umami flavors, like wild mushroom dishes, rustic cheeses, or wild game pâté.