2019 Hundred Suns, Pinot Noir, Sequitur Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Coming from Mike Etzel’s coveted home vineyard, of Beaux Freres fame, where Hundred Suns Grant Coulter worked as head winemaker, this 2019 Sequitur Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir is lovely fresh and bright with a deep ruby/garnet color and very inviting aromatics, showing rose petals and peony notes along with a range of earthy and minerally red fruits that leads to a palate that has silken layers of black cherry, plum, strawberry and tangy red currant fruits. Interestingly, as I have noticed and remarked upon many times when reviewing these Hundred Suns wines, they have vibrant almost Gamay like character to them, with this Sequitur Vineyard following that form in what reminds me of Jean-Louis Dutraive’s gorgeous and perfumed Domaine de la Grand’Cour Fleurie, which is intriguing and is high praise in my book. The vines are set at about 350 feet up in the warmer Ribbon Ridge AVA and are set in the classic Willakenzie, marine sediment soils with Etzel farming them all biodynamic and holistic care, where Grant getting a selection of clone, including Chalone, Pommard and a secret unclassified clone to make his own version. Coulter’s winemaking here is very interesting with three separate fermentation lots used with one being 100% de-stemmed, one being about 50% whole cluster, plus a tiny batch of full carbonic, that all got blended together, making for a wine with supple mouth feel, vigorous crunch with brambly spices and Chinato like herbs, as well as having a long finish. The wood aging is done in a way that almost no oak shows here which is well judged to showcase the purity and delicacy of this awesome wine.
As mentioned here, winemaker, Grant Coulter, the ex Beaux Freres star, who along with Renée Saint-Amour started their own label Hundred Suns in 2015, with a focus on small lot Pinots, of which the Shea Vineyard and this Sequitur Vineyard are two of their signature wines. The Pinots are handcrafted to show transparency and Coulter has been experimenting with the use of Amphora and always uses a significant amount of whole cluster. The wines are exceptional in their youth, but cellaring looks like a good idea, especially if you want the flavors to fold more into traditional Pinot in its profile. So I myself have put a few bottles away for the long term, with the natural acidity and backbone, they should provide rewarding drinking pleasure in the future, though such patience is hard and I love they taste now, especially with the right cuisine pairings. While this 2019 vintage is, as mentioned, was cooler and wetter than vigneron’s would have liked, causing many headaches, but Coulter prevailed and created a set of rockstar stuff and they look to have good aging potential, with his Pinots all showing their own charms, personality and sharp detailing. There is such attention to each of these brilliant wines, each vintage and wine here at Hundred Suns are incredibly distinct, these are wines that remind me of the wines of Philippe Pacalet, the mentioned Dutraive Freurie and Jean Foillard, who’s Morgon Cru Beaujolais are legendary, these wines are expressive, authentic and thrillingly energetic. Oregon is producing a lot of new labels of merit and there’s so many to be exited by, which makes me itch to get up there and continue exploring, with Hundred Suns being one winery that way over delivers for the price. The Hundred Suns Old Eight Cut Pinot Noir is their entry level wine, it is a huge bargain and utterly delicious stuff that is beyond guilt free and a great way to get started with these wines. I highly recommend getting on their mailing list and be sure not to miss these other-worldly Pinots, and not over look their Chardonnay, Gamay, Syrah, Cabernet and Grenache offerings.
($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive