2017 Purple Hands, Pinot Noir, Lone Oak Ranch, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Cody Wright, son of the famous Ken Wright one of Oregon’s most influential winemaker, who branched out on his own when he was only 25 years old, has crafted a savvy set of wonderful Willamette Valley Pinots and this 2017 Lone Oak Ranch cuvee perfectly shows why you’ll want to discover these Purple Hands wines, it is a beautiful and value packed offering with that impresses on the satiny palate. Cody grew up working in his family business’s from the winery to the vineyard and went on to graduate with environmental science degrees from the University of Oregon in 2003. Back In 2005 Cody founded Purple Hands Winery with 250 cases. Now along with Marque Wright, this pair now has a well established winery, it a way the story reminds me in some ways to Morgan Twain-Peterson and his Bedrock Wine Co. Cody’s Purple Hands Winery, based in Dundee, is all about exploring site-specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that, in what he says, unearths the Willamette Valley’s long evolutionary history, making authentic and wines that seems more generous in nature to his dad’s wines, that I find need a few years in bottle to show their best, with Cordy using traditional winemaking techniques that conveys an honest expression of each of the vineyards that he uses. He adds, that all of his wines undergo native fermentation and remain unfined and unfiltered at bottling to preserve their natural, I would say pure soulfulness and their wild character. The Lone Oak Ranch is a special cuvee, more of a regional expression, rather than a single vineyard wine, mostly from the Jory soils of the red hills of Dundee, but features five of the Willamette Valley’s AVA’s and a variety of soils that show cool climate and marine sedimentary character along with that iron rich Dundee volcanic mineral element.
The 2017 is warmly ripe in flavor with layers of smooth black cherry, plum, raspberry and strawberry fruits along with a hint of smoke, red pepper, sweet floral tones, tangy sassafras and tea notes. The vintage falls in line with the prior two years and the new 2018, with this 2017 still available in some shops and at a great price for the quality. Cody used only hand harvested fruit from a selection of eight top cru sites and fermented, as mentioned above in small lots with indigenous yeast and in small open top fermentors, with what tastes like a bit of whole berry, employing hand punch downs and gentle macerations. After the primary was done the individual wines are racked off to barrels to age and go through natural malos, this elevage was done with 75% neutral French barriques and 25% new wood, which does add to the polished and luxurious profile and mouth feel. After 11 months the wines were blended and this selection was like all of the Purple Hands bottlings was unfined, which as noted allows the wine to show its most transparent form and true personality. This is really drinking well and should get even better over the next 3 to 5 years and it does follow the family Wright theme of structure and focus, though I feel the Purple Hands stuff is a bit more friend and joyous in their youth, especially this 2017 Lone Oak Ranch, which has a pretty bouquet, a dark ruby color and a distinct and lingering silky aftertaste with touches of cinnamon, currants and echos of kirsch. I recommend exploring these Purple Hands wines, there is a great range from to chose, I suggest this one for the bargain cost here, but for more intrigue look for the Shea, Latchkey, the Freedom Hill, one of my personal favorites, as well as Cody’s Kroff and Holstein, two of his favored Dundee vineyards. If you can find the 2017s, go for it, but don’t overlook the 2016s and the current set of plush 2018s, all are worth your time and effort.
($31 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive