2021 Hundred Suns, Pinot Noir, Old Eight Cut, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The bright ruby and garnet 2021 Hundred Suns Old Eight Cut Pinot Noir, by winemaker Grant Coulter, is loaded with personality and energy with an almost carbonic like expressively juicy medium bodied palate. This lively vintage shows Italian cherry, strawberry, pomegranate and tart red currant fruits, along with a heightened pop of spice, dark flowers and mineral tones, adding a silky texture with air and gaining some savory, earthy, wild herb and stony elements that gives a savvy balance here. As mentioned, I find this partial whole cluster Pinot thrilling in the same way I do (and love) the Cru Beaujolais wines from the legendary producers, like Dutraive, Thevenet, Breton, Lapierre and Foillard, rather than classic Pinot or Burgundy wines, it is very distinctive and Gamay like, Coulter makes very singular wines. The winemaking here is very much on the natural side of things with both ancient and more modern traditional methods is about using minimal intervention, almost no new wood and very low sulphites, which Coulter believes promotes purity and freshness in his wines. In his Old Eight Cut Pinot Noir, you get a lot for your money in terms of quality and it is a ridiculous good value, providing lots of drinking pleasure even while young.
The Hundred Suns Old Eight Cut Pinot, is, as Coulter puts it, a cellar selection (that) stitches together pieces from unique sites across the Willamette Valley, including some elite vineyard sites. The separate lots of 2021 Pinot Noir grapes were fermented with all native yeast, 30%whole cluster and with a variety of traditional and experimental techniques, sometimes including carbonic maceration and or amphora, after which the wine was aged mainly in well used French oak barrel. These cellar techniques were employed all to create a layered and transparent wine, and this vintage is wonderfully engaging and seriously delicious. Grant Coulter, the ex Beaux Freres winemaker, and his wife Renée Saint-Amour’s Hundred Suns label, which focuses on innovative hand crafted single vineyard Pinots, along with some exciting Gamay, Syrah and Chardonnay, is one of the most exceptional wineries in the Willamette Valley. The top set of Pinots at Hundred Suns come from unique parcels at Shea Vineyard, in the Yamhill-Carlton district, Mike Etzel’s Sequitur Vineyard in Ribbon Ridge, and the classic Bednarik Vineyard, with its selection of Pommard and Wadensvil clones on marine sedimentary soil. All the vineyards providing grapes for the Hundred Suns wines, including this Old Eight Cut bottling, are fully sustainable and or organically grown, making for some highly desirable wines, which I highly recommend.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive