Wine critic Steven Baker follows the cool climate back roads of Oregon Pinot noir country and shares his journal. His business, Authentica Wines, is a membership based wine club.
~ August 2010
Outstanding Willamette Valley pinot noir for under $30 is a rarity - at least it always has been. Now it seems that if you know where to look, you can take home a very, very good quality Willamette Valley pinot noir for as little as $20.
Now that the publication of reviews for Oregon's 2008 vintage, beginning with Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar recently, the world at large will become acquainted with our abundance. That's a two edged sword - it's nice to see hard working winemakers get the credit they deserve, but at the same time it will no doubt put tremendous pressure on the supply, leading many small production wines to sell out quickly.
One of the first to do so will no doubt be Ayres, 2008 Willamette Valley pinot
noir, which received a very positive review. Expect to see a scramble for this unheard of $20 gem.
I first met Brad MacLeroy almost 10 years ago when he moved his family to Oregon from the Midwest in order to pursue his dream to make world class pinot noir. After a stint with a good Burgundy importer and during his time working at Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Brad and family settled into a prime property in the Ribbon Ridge AVA just across the road from Brick House, one of Oregon's truly outstanding producers.
Brad learned will from Veronique Drouhin and others in the area and his 2008 is nothing short of outstanding. Composed of estate fruit and purchased fruit from the Eola Hills AVA, the 2008 Willamette Valley pinot noir is surprisingly rich and complex for a mere Willamette Valley multi-vineyard bottling.
This pinot noir is still young and shows the well integrated acidity of the 2008 vintage, but soon opens to reveal layers of ripe red and blue fruits, cola notes and a hint of sweet loamy soils. The textures are fine and well proportioned and the finish is supple and long. This drank the best after three days, so that gives you some idea of its staying potential. Although not necessarily made to cellar for an extensive period, this wine will nontheless last well for the next few years.
Get this one before it's gone!
~ Steve Baker
Willamette Valley, 2008
Release Price: $20.00
Pinot Underground Recent Columns
January, 2010 ~ Crowley
February, 2010 ~ Evesham Wood
March, 2010 ~ Westrey
May, 2010 ~ Evening Land
June, 2010 ~ Iota
July, 2010 ~ Crowley (part2)