As part of Oregon Wine Month, we bring you an exciting Oregon Pinot Noir retrospective today. One of the founding wineries in Oregon, Willamette Valley Vineyards has been producing high quality Pinot Noir since the early 1980s. I recently had the chance to taste some of their single vineyard Pinots from the excellent 2012 vintage. 2012 was as perfect as it gets for winemakers in Oregon and followed up two previous cool vintages. The 2012 vintage was marked by a dry summer which produced some nice ripe fruit. While alcohol levels were higher than the previous two vintages, acid levels remained rather high in the wines, which led to some rich and highly structured Pinot Noirs that you can experience in the glass.
Willamette Valley Vineyards head winemaker Joe Ibrahim has a long history in wine, starting with Chateau St. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington. He also previously worked for Gallo in California and was part of their Sparkling wine production team. Ibrahim moved to Edna Valley winery as head winemaker and became familiar with crafting cool climate Pinot Noir. His 2012 releases showcase the terroir and the fruit that the vintage is known for. I was particularly impressed with their ‘Hannah’ bottling (WWB, 93 points). This wine is sourced from a specific block in their Tualitin estate and had a lovely intensity. Their 2012 ‘Chehelem Mountains’ Pinot Noir bottling was sourced from the Alloro Vineyard and shows wonderful ripeness, persistence and terroir. Kudos to Ibrahim and his winemaking team for creating some special wines in 2012. Learn more about these wines at http://wvv.com/ Here is my 2012 Pinot Noir retrospective from Willamette Valley Vineyards:
2012 Willamette Valley Vineyards ‘Hannah’ Pinot Noir- This expressing bottling begins with bright aromas of rose petals, prune and red cherry. This leads to mid-weight flavors of red cherry, cran-pomegranate, wet rock and black truffle. Absolutely outstanding and dense effort that showcases this brilliant vintage. Drink 2016-2026- 93
2012 Willamette Valley Vineyards ‘Chehelem Mountains’ Pinot Noir- The Pinot begins with aromas of cherry pie, raspberry and pomegranate with suggestions of lavender. This leads to feminine flavors of red raspberry, pomegranate, gooseberry and crushed white flowers. Nice balance and finesse, with an intriguing range of fruit and non-fruit flavors. Drink 2016-2026- 93
2012 Willamette Valley Vineyards ‘McMinnville’ Pinot Noir- This wine begins with aromas of wet granite, smoked meats, red raspberry and black truffle shavings. There are medium to heavy weight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and teaberry alongside leather and suggestions of smoked meats. Gorgeous and intense bottling, with lovely structure and fruit weight. This captures the best of the vintage. Drink 2016-2026- 93
2012 Willamette Valley Vineyards 'Elton' Pinot Noir- This lighter style bottling begins with aromas of rose petals, red raspberry, and mulling spices. This leads to medium ripe flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, cran-pomegranate and baking spices. Lovely wet rock characteristics to this feminine style of Pinot. Drink 2016-2025- 92
2012 Willamette Valley Vineyards ‘Bernau Block’ Pinot Noir- This is a gorgeous wine by Willamette Valley Vineyards. The wine starts with aromatics reminiscent of red cherry, red raspberry and dill. This leads to medium weight flavors of mushroom, forest floor, red cherry, and red raspberry alongside lovely minerality. This is hard to resist right now and has the structure to cellar well. Drink 2016-2024- 92
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