A brand new Pinot Noir project started by Louis Skinner of Betz Family Winery, SUNU refers to the French statement which means emphasis on vineyard as the primary engine of wine quality and character, “Sous Nous,” which means “under us.” It is not surprising that Louis has chosen some very exciting sites in the Willamette Valley to craft his wines, including the famed Shea Vineyard as well as the Saffron Fields Vineyard and the Guadalupe Vineyard. Each site is truly unique and brings their own inherent expression to the Pinot Noir.
Earlier in the year I interviewed Louis (http://www.washingtonwineblog.com/blog/2019/2/28/interview-with-louis-skinner-winemaker-at-betz-family-winery) and I was quite intrigued to see how these new wines would perform. Having reviewed more than 500 wines from Oregon this year I can say with confidence that these wines are every bit outstanding. The wines deftly reflect the terroir and considering that this is Louis’s first attempt to making great Oregon Pinot Noir, I would say that he did remarkably well. I loved their entry level wine, the 2017 SUNU Pinot Noir (WWB, 91) which is sourced from a host of Willamette Valley vineyards and shows great freshness with a nice salinity. Even better was their 2017 SUNU ‘Shea Vineyard East Hill’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 93) which has a wonderful range of aromatics and flavors. Learn more about this exciting new Oregon project at https://www.sunuwines.com Here are the beautiful new Pinot Noir wines by SUNU.
2017 SUNU Pinot Noir- A brand new winery project by the talented Louis Skinner, the 2017 SUNU Pinot Noir is sourced from a host of great vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley. On the nose this shows a wonderful bouquet of wild mushroom to peat moss and smoky tones that combine with the bright red fruits that all combine marvelously in the glass. The freshness imparted on the mouth is wonderful as the wine slowly unveils bright guava, wild strawberry and earthy undertones with a light salinity towards the back end. Drink 2019-2029- 91
2017 SUNU ‘Guadalupe Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- Sourced from this esteemed site in the Dundee Hills, the ‘Guadalupe Vineyard’ Pinot Noir opens with salted red fruits with smoky and hearth tones rounding out this beautiful nose. The palate has wonderful richness and texture as the wine delivers beautiful red and dark fruits with peat moss tones a beam of salinity that runs through the wine. Enjoy this beautiful wine over the next decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 92
2017 SUNU ‘Saffron Fields Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- The ‘Saffron Fields Vineyard’ Pinot Noir was aged for sixteen months in 50% new French oak prior to bottling. This 100% Pommard clone wine begins with aromatics of smoke with peat moss and forest floor tones that combine with black raspberry and shades of thyme on the nose. The mouthfeel is outstanding here as the wine shows gobs of mouth-watering acidity. Black cherry, black tea, black truffle shavings and shades of kumquat round out this complex palate. Enjoy this beautiful wine over the next ten to fifteen years. Drink 2019-2032- 93
2017 SUNU ‘Shea Vineyard East Hill’ Pinot Noir- The 2017 ‘Shea Vineyard East Hill’ Pinot Noir is a stunning new wine from this outstanding Willamette Valley Vineyard. Entirely Wadensil clone, the wine begins with seriously good aromatic range from red rose petals to red raspberry and earthy and smoky undertone that all combine marvelously. The palate has great salinity, tension and richness. The freshness of the wine really drives forward here as bright red fruits mingle with citrus rind and peat moss toners on the palate. This is seriously good now and will only get better with some time. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2017 SUNU ‘Matteri Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- The ‘Matteri Vineyard’ is a windswept site that is planted to Pinot Noir Dijon clones 115 and 117. On then nose this takes on shades of cherry cola, lavender, blood orange zest and peat moss that all develop nicely in the glass. The palate shows really good verve and richness, unveiling black tea, wild mushroom, saline soaked wild blackberry and sage tones that al mingle nicely together. While a delight to savor in its youth this will develop well or another ten to fifteen years. Drink 2019-2032- 92