A few months back I had the chance to visit one of the great older houses in Oregon, Lange Estate, which was started by Wendy and Don Lange in 1987. Their son, Jesse has a longstanding history in the wine industry and began helping his parents as a small child. Jesse’s formal winemaking training occurred at New Zealand’s Lincoln University while on a student exchange scholarship from Oregon State in 1999. Jesse then spent two years as cellar rat for winemaker Bruce McGuire at Santa Barbara Winery prior to coming back to his family winery. He joined the winemaking team in 2004 and now serves on the board of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. Last year Lange opened their new tasting room and I had the chance to visit this beautiful spot, hosted by Wendy and Don. The facility has sweeping views of the Willamette Valley and is a beautiful, highly modern space. For those who have not visited this beautiful new tasting room it is a must-see.
While visiting Lange I had the chance to revisit several older wines and check back with the vintages that I enjoyed when I was first tasting wines from the Willamette Valley. A few things about the vintages that I tried. 2001 was a solid, albeit not spectacular vintage in Oregon. The growing season was excellent and there was very little rain at harvest with weather overall being slightly cool. 2002, on the other hand, is one of my all-time favorite vintages in Oregon as I fondly recall some of the absolutely epic wines that came from this vintage. In 2002 there was a warm and dry growing season and moderate temperatures during harvest produced wines that were not only rich but were full of acidity.
I was blown away with the two older wines shared with me by the Lange family. Both wines were completely different, but in a good way. The 2001 Lange Estate ‘Three Hills Cuvee’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 91) had lost much of the acid backbone but showed insanely good range on the palate with marvelous richness. This wine still has several years left. The show-stopper was the 2002 Lange Estate ‘Three Hills Cuvee’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 93) which has another decade left and shows an amazing texture and level of complexity. This revisit is a reminder of how I need many more of these older wines in my cellar. Learn more about this storied Oregon estate at
https://www.langewinery.com/ Here are my reviews of the older Pinot Noir wines from Lange Estate.
2001 Lange Estate ‘Three Hills Cuvee’ Pinot Noir-This Lange Estate wine was first made in 1997. The nose is quite rich with black tea, wild blackberry with wild mushroom aromas. The palate shows a good minerality with black truffle shavings, peat moss, black tea and black cherry flavors. citrus rind. Complex and delicious, this is showing marvelously and still has a few years left so enjoy this while you can. Drink 2019-2022- 91
2002 Lange Estate ‘Three Hills Cuvee’ Pinot Noir- The 2002 vintage saw near perfect growing conditions. The wine is showing marvelously right now. The palate is plush and dense, showing wonderful range and tension. Black fruits, citrus rind, pomegranate seed and black truffle. Complex and delicious, this is right in its sweet spot. The wine shows good mid-palate richness and is nowhere near finished as this will cellar well for the next decade. Drink 2019-2028- 93