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.
~ January 2010
Originally from the East Coast, Tyson Crowley is a thoughtful, affable young man who has worked for some of the better winemakers in the Willamette Valley. Presently he is an assistant to John Paul at Cameron winery in Dundee, and he benefits from his many wine country associations by gaining access to exceptional fruit sources in some the most coveted Dundee Hills vineyards. His own label represents tiny quantities of very deftly made, finely crafted pinot noir and chardonnay that Tyson distributes himself.
I first tasted these wines at the Deep Roots Coalition tasting in Portland this past summer and was immediately taken by the subtlety and expressive character of Tyson's wines and I recognized them as the very type of wines I like to champion. Since then, each time I taste the 2007 Willamette Valley pinot noir, it gets better and better as it gains bottle age.
Great fruit sources, minimal handling and attention to detail are all hallmarks of Tyson's wines. I have tasted his other cuvees - Entre Nouse, Gherts Vineyard and La Collina Vineyard - and I highly recommend all of them, especially the La Collina, which consists of a single barrel of 100% wadenswill clone pinot noir. It is an extremely seductive Oregon pinot noir that sports layers of black cherry, black tea, and Asian spice flavors presented in a velvet textured package. It is easily one of the ten best Oregon pinots I have tasted in the last 6 months. Priced at $40.
The Willamette Valley 2007 pinot noir is highly recommended as well and at $24 it represents a superb value. A bright garnet/ruby in color, it offers an abundance of ripe, vibrant cane berry fruit, a nice mineral complexity and super fine tannins. This wine continues to improve in the bottle as demonstrated by its tendency to improve after being open for a day or more. It represents an outstanding value in a small production, artisan wine from an up and coming producer. This guy is definitely one to watch. ~ Steve Baker