Grapelive Pacific Northwest Wines Update: Wines to Look For
By Kerry Winslow
2008 Patton Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir “Lorna-Marie” Estate Grown, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Sadly this beauty is wildly priced, otherwise it would be an Oregon classic, but for that kind of money Beaux Freres would be a better choice I think, even though only a tiny amount was made. With my pricing gripes, this is a stunning Pinot Noir with nice depth and clear focus that is a step up from their regular bottling. I have admired Patton Valley for a good many vintages and am always impressed with the pureness and lovely texture they get in their Pinot Noir. The 2008 Lorna-Marie is darker and sexier than the others in the line up with smoky blackberry, mineral spice, crushed flowers and a full plummy palate of sweet cherries and tea notes. The subtle backdrop of forest floor, strawberry compote and vanilla add just the right amounts of each to the mix and the acidity lifts everything without any bitter trace. There is not much doubt that this wine is nothing short of excellent, just that touch of envy that I can’t afford it., but I am none the less grateful for the effort and will enjoy a few bottles of their very delish Willamette Valley and be as happy as a clam.
($70 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2008 Retour Pinot Noir Willamette Valley.
Even though I don’t believe the bottle I tasted was a perfect one, there was so much to enjoy in this Eric Hamacher made Pinot I have high hopes that the next one I try will rate even higher. I have only tasted Retour once before, but I have sampled Hamacher’s wines many times in the past and must say, not only is he a great person he is a fine artisan that produces wonderful Pinot Noirs, and even some fine Chardonnay as well. The 2008 Retour is subtle and a wine of great finesse with intriguing delicate flavors that remind me of some Spatburgunders or classic Cortons from Burgundy with hidden intensity and silky richness that lingers on and on with red fruits, toffee, slate like mineral essence and truffle. *Like I mentioned this bottle was maybe slightly bruised or heat affected, so I have a gut feeling the next one will show more heightened fruit, but even if it was a solid example, I was left wanting for nothing and would very much recommend it for it’s class and unique restraint.
($50 Est.) *93-94 Points, grapelive
2008 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley, Washington State.
This lush chocolate and blueberry pie of a wine has hedonistic written all over it, but the is a certain grace about it and a spicy kick in the pants that is refreshing and charming too. The nose lets you know it is a Washington Syrah, it won’t fool you at all, not that I wanted to be tricked, it just is what it is and is just great the way it is. This 2008 has some nice acidity to hold the mocha and vanilla cream in check and will a few years it should be something even more special. There is boysenberry, cassis, espresso and creamy cherry layers, hints of fennel, pepper and vanilla in this full-bodied red and the finish is long and mouth coating. I really like Gramercy Cellars, they do really fun and serious stuff, so I recommend trying a few bottles if you get the chance!
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2008 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, Washington State.
This juicy rich Cabernet is very nice now, but I would suggest giving it some time in the cellar to fill out and deepen, it is round and has some baby fat at the moment and loads of red fruitiness that kind of hides the true nature and Cabernet character at the moment, even though it is a really enjoyable wine. The 2008 has a spicy edge and smooth tannins behind round up front raspberry, currant and cherry fruit with a mix of cedar, tobacco leaf, mocha and sweet oak vanilla. Just a bit young yet, but shows wonderful promise if you are willing to put it away for a few years. On a side note, Gramercy also makes one of the best Tempranillo wines in the States and the 2008 is a rockstar version, check that out as well, it is really amazing.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2009 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Another knockout from this winery, honestly I was thrilled by their 2008, but this 2009 vintage looks even more interesting! There is a sweet and savory Burgundy like quality that sings in this well made Pinot Noir from the heart of the Willamette Valley. This is made from a selection of barrels from prized vineyard sources that adhere to mostly organic practices and are cropped for balance and intensity, and it really shows in the finished product. This is a star winery that deserves attention and gives a remarkable bang for the buck! White Rose’s 2009 Willamette Valley cuvee as plenty of interest and depth with fresh cherries, mineral, tea spices, lavender and plum leading the way, with some rose petal perfume and subtle oak notes. There is lots of vivid life in this wine, but everything is balanced, focused and silky. If you want a super wine from Oregon, this is the real deal, I highly recommend it.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2009 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills A.V.A” Willamette Valley, Oregon.
If you are looking for a true “Terroir” wine, well here you go, not only is this pure Oregon Pinot at it’s best, and it translates the Dundee Hills in perfect fashion. The Red Hills of Dundee shine through in this cuvee with loads of soft red fruits, edgy mineral, red soils and truffle. The Dundee A.V.A gives an extra red spicy, almost rocky cayenne pepper note along with a strawberry and lavender tone and this Pinot highlights those and remains true to them right through, start to finish. The nose has rose petals and plum and the mouth is rich with silky fruit, raspberry, tangy cherry and wild strawberry. The earthy and stone mineral streak is subtle and adds complexity while fresh acidity keeps this feeling light, even though there is plenty of rich layers. White Rose is making some amazing wines and this one stands out, so if you can find it, pick up a few it will blown you away.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive