2018 Hundred Suns, Pinot Noir, Old Eight Cut, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The new Old Eight Cut Willamette Valley Pinot from Hundred Suns is full of dark fruits, richness from the warm vintage and with an underlying light savory element and vibrancy that keeps things in form, this is riper than the 2017, but still focused and balanced with a delicious palate and sex appeal for youthful drinking. I am a big fan of all the wines coming from this small Oregon producer made by the ex-Beaux Freres winemaker Grant Coulter, especially this barrel selection Old Eight Cut Pinot, which its exotic semi carbonic style that is modern, but similar to what you see from Philippe Pacalet in Burgundy and with some Cru Beaujolais, like Jean Foillard thrown in! Even the name reflects this idea, as Coulter puts it, (the) Old Eight Cut, which is a diamond cut dating back to the 1400s using simple tools and few cuts to enhance the natural brilliance of the stone without disguising its true nature, that also describes the winemaking theme, these are wines made using ancient techniques and traditional means to showcase the purity of fruit and the year. The 2018 vintage was a warm year in the Willamette, as noted, and Coulter adds that fruit set was poor and the clusters were tiny, all of which explains the intensity and concentration, but there somehow managed to be good acids in the end, with the dry winds in August closing the leaf stomata allowing that boost in acid, allowing wines that look more complex and structured than would have been imagined, I myself am loving the results here and the Old Eight Cut should age well too.
The latest Old Eight Cut release has layers of classic dark cherry, blackberry, wild plum, pomegranate and racy strawberry fruits, an array of spices, herbs de Provence and potpourri and light hints of earth, blood orange and faint oak shadings. As Grant explains, the Old Eight Cut, the main wine or entry level bottling, is cellar selection that stitches together pieces from unique sites from across the whole Willamette Valley, which includes many differing soil types and climates from Jory (volcanic) to a marine sedimentary base. The small lots are fermented with 100% native yeast, with this vintage seeing about 40% whole cluster with less hybrid winemaking in this one, this minimum of intervention paid off with a soulful expression of flavors and graceful textures. Hundred Suns aged the final batch on the lees for 11 months in neutral French oak barrels and after which it was gently racked to tank and bottled unfined and unfiltered, again the enhance the Pinot Noir’s sense of purity and true character. With air and time in the glass this dark ruby and garnet hued Pinot gains depth and length, adding heightened perfume, making it pretty thrilling stuff and has the stuffing to go with a range of cuisines. The Old Eight Cut, from organically grown grapes, offers loads of silken pleasures and is a stunning value in Willamette Pinot, again this is a winery to watch, in particular these Pinots, plus Coulter is also doing a fabulous Gamay and even a stylish Washington State Grenache, keep an eye on Hundred Suns! I can’t wait to dig into their single vineyard or Cru wines, most of which are biodynamic grown, in the near future.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive