February 04, 2005

2002 Oregon Pinot Noir

I went to a wine store tasting the other day that featured 2002 Oregon Pinot Noir, mostly. Overall, these are some nice wines, though it's hard to get a real sense of any wine, especially pinot noir, in such a short period of time. Speaking of vintages is always difficult too, but 2002 in the Willamette Valley was an ideal year, if perhaps giving some wines too high in alcohol. The beauty of the growing season was the nice harvest weather that lasted so long. You really should have been able to pick pretty much whenever you wanted, so the results in that way might reflect the winemaker's intention more clearly. Go for the fences with a huge ripe wine, or pick early for better aromatics?

Cameron Ghertz Vineyard
A new vineyard designate from Cameron, with a different label design. This wine showed some sulfur and earthy cherry aromas with a nice fresh fruit and earth flavor, finishing with a fresh citrus tang. It’s not complex but tastes good, though it probably needs some time in a decanter to lose the stinkiness.

Ponzi Willamette Valley
An Oregon classic, I can see why this garnered a big rating from one wine magazine. Dark yet still translucent color, which is nice. But the aroma is annoyingly oaky, with the scent of sawdust. Oak and nearly blackberry flavors on the palate, tastes like oaky pinot noir and it’s good for that idiom. But this is the least interesting wine here.

Torii Mor "Deux Verres" Reserve
Nice wild berry and spice flavors with earthy notes and good tannic structure. Needs time and perhaps too tannic for its own good. But I like this wine’s grip, especially because I usually associate this producer with overly glossy-textured offerings that leave me cold.

Chehelam Stoller Vineyard 2001
The only non-’02 in the line up, it shows typical Stoller softness and pure cherry fruit. Not a lot of structure, more like a chubby slice of cherry pie. Good pie, sure. But this is not compelling wine, much like I find Stoller vineyard bottlings from other producers. Fat and happy, crowd pleasing wines at their best, but I’ve yet to taste one I really like.

Adelsheim Elizabeth Reserve
A blend of three Chehelam mountain vineyards and the Goldschmidt vineyard in the Red Hills. Adelsheim seems so uncool, they must have an uberhip underground following somewhere. No one seems to talk about Adelsheim but they produce fine pinot noir that should appeal to lovers of old world wine. Look elsewhere if you seek candied sweet oaky pinot. Distrinctive floral and red berry aroma, a little sauvage. Nice bright pure fruit and earth flavors, nice and long, my favorite here but more suited for food than casual sipping. Should last many years.

Cristom Eileen Vineyard
Brighter red fruit aromas than the previous few wines. Some mineral and nicely complex berry and earth flavors, medium bodied with good acid and a young, unevolved profile. Nice wine that should also last many years.

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