Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 27, 2019

2017 Hundred Suns, Pinot Noir, Sequitur Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon -photo grapelive

2017 Hundred Suns, Pinot Noir, Sequitur Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Renée Saint-Amour and Grant Coulter’s Carlton based Hundred Suns Wines is one of the best under the radar labels in Oregon and their wines are totally unique and of fantastic quality, from their Eight-Cut entry level Willamette Valley Pinot to this outrageously good Sequitur Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Pinot, as well as their Gamay and Grenache bottlings. Grant Coulter, the ex-Beaux Freres winemaker, is from the Monterey Peninsula and joins the likes of Eric Hamacher and Ken Wright as being from down here and moving to Oregon to make wine and a name for themselves. Grant is part of the new generation in America’s wine world and redefining what modern wines should be like, working with organic and sustainable vineyards and using less new oak and employing a hands off approach in the cellar. His wines are exotic and incredibly flavorful, his use of carbonic maceration, whole cluster and amphora in the Hundred Suns Pinots is a huge break with the norms, and I am thrilled by this wines, especially this amazing Sequitur Vineyard Pinot, which is amazingly like taking a Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py and blending it with a top Chambolle-Musigny! Coulter and Saint-Amour crafted this Sequitur Pinot from two separate lots, equaling 4 barrels in this cuvee with native yeasts, one batch fermented traditionally using 35% whole cluster along the other that was fermented100% carbonic, 100% whole cluster in terra-cotta amphora, the resulting wine was then racked to used French oak for 10 months of elevage, then it was gravity bottled unfined and unfiltered.

The beautifully perfumed and racy 2017 Hundred Suns Sequitur Vineyard, comes from a Cru site in the Willamette Valley’s Ribbon Ridge AVA and owned by, Grant’s old boss at Beaux Freres, the famed Mike Etzel and farmed Biodynamic using clone Chalone, 943 and Pommard at about 400 feet of elevation on classic marine sedimentary soils. The 2017 shows wonderful ripe details and lush texture, but is very lively too and at 13.4% natural alcohol it is remarkably well balanced and vivid in style with a deep (classic to Ribbon Ridge) garnet/ruby hue in the glass that gives the impression of density of substance. This Pinot bursts from the glass in youthful fresh vigor with loads of (carbonic) fruits, including satiny layers of sweet plum, juicy cherry, blackberry, currant, pomegranate and strawberry along with snappy herbs, subtle backing spices, walnut and dark flowers with a touch of violet and rose oil. There is without question a Cru Beaujolais impression here, and with air you’d be forgiven for not thinking this was a Dutraive Fleurie, though I’m sure the Pinot core will come through with bottle age, and while thrilling now, there is huge potential for greatness in 5 to 10 years, in particular the underlying savory tones, mineral and earth make this darkly complex and intriguing wine. This is wild and sexy Pinot Noir, seemly inspired by the mentioned Foillard, Dutraive and maybe even Lapierre, and it really takes its own path, almost unlike any other Oregon Pinot Noir, far from un-nerving it is absolutely gorgeous and deserves your attention, as does all of Hundred Suns offerings, this is a list to be on!
($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive