One of the standout Oregon producers of Oregon Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Brittan Vineyards is guided by superstar winemaker Robert Brittan, formerly winemaker at Stags’ Leap Winery in Napa. Robert is a graduate of the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program who started Brittan Vineyards in 2004. Robert acquired a 128-acre hillside property with soils that are a mixture of glacial deposits and volcanic material, with a predominant presence of broken basalt. The volcanic material clearly adds to the wonderfully stony aspect in the wines. In 2004 there were 18 acres of existing vines but Robert needed to replant nearly half of the rootstock. This included one of the first plantings of the Swan clonal selection of Pinot Noir in Oregon.
After dropping all of the crop in 2005 to allow the vines to get better established, the first two Pinot Noirs from the mature vines on the property came from the 2006 vintage, a total of 720 cases. In the spring of 2008, an additional 3.5 acres of Pinot Noir were planted, which are now in production— the rocky soils and low water retention often means that it takes five years for a vine to get into production. In addition to the Pinot Noir, Robert has 4 acres of Chardonnay and 1.5 acres of Syrah have been planted. In addition to his own wines, Robert serves as the winemaker for several other brands, including Blakeslee, de Lancellotti, Fairsing, Noble Pig, Winderlea and Youngberg Hill.
The new Brittan Vineyards releases are some of the most impressive wines out of Oregon that I have tried in the past year. Check out the absolutely stunning 2016 Brittan Vineyards Chardonnay (WWB, 94) which has just incredible tension and range. Just as good was the 2015 Brittan Vineyards ‘Gestalt Block’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 94) is an exceptional Pinot Noir that has incredible terroir and a wonderful sense of place. Learn more about the great wines of Brittan Vineyards at http://www.brittanvineyards.com Here are the new Pinot Noir releases by Brittan Vineyards.
2016 Brittan Vineyards Chardonnay- Showing a rather pale color, the 2016 Brittan Vineyards Chardonnay starts off with bright aromatics of poached pear, lemon blossom and a touch of toasted hazelnut. The mouthfeel is velvety and soft, revealing an enticing mineral streak. Lemon oil, pink grapefruit rind, and brioche with baked New York apple flavors arouse the senses. The intensity of this wine is downright invigorating. This is another stunning effort by superstar winemaker Robert Brittan. Enjoy this gorgeous wine over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 94
2015 Brittan Vineyards ‘Basalt Block’ Pinot Noir- This gorgeous Pinot Noir is sourced from south facing Pinot Noir vines set in fractured basalt. Earthy tones dominate the nose, with sage, crushed wet gravel, peat moss and black cherry cordial. The mouthfeel is voluptuous as the wine reveals a wonderful combination of dark and red fruits that connect with the forest floor and wild mushroom elements. Elegant, rich and downright intoxicating, this is a gorgeous wine by Brittan Vineyards. Try to resist this outstanding Pinot Noir for at least another year. Drink 2019-2030- 94
2015 Brittan Vineyards ‘Gestalt Block’ Pinot Noir- The Gestalt Block is located on a western facing hillside that is set on broken basalt. The range of aromatics is lovely. Orange rind, Asian spices, red cherry preserves and black truffle crudo fill the nose. Elegant and highly poised, the wine shows off deep smoked wild mushroom, wild blackberry jam and orange rind flavors that connect with the gorgeous minerality. The brisk acidity and weight make this nearly impossible to resist right now. Drink 2019-2030- 94
2015 Brittan Vineyards ‘Cygnus Block’ Pinot Noir- The Cygnus Block is named after the winemaker’s wife, Ellen. This starts off with rich aromatics reminiscent of loganberry preserves, black tea and Asian spices with forest floor. The palate has marvelous weight and minerality, as the wine shows off blackberry jelly, orange rind, red cherry compote and black tea with peat moss. This has wonderful range and is impossible to resist right now. Enjoy this gorgeous wine over the next decade or more. Drink 2019-2033- 94