2019 Brick House, Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The 2019 vintage was a difficult year for the Willamette, but Brick House has made a gem with this estate bottling, it comes through on the palate very much a true Burgundy style wine with silky layers, slightly earthy and slow to open, after which it gains a beautiful aromatic quality, length and richer elegant red fruits. This bottling, like Brick House’s Select typically sees a core of Pommard clone and a restraint in new oak that allows a more old world character to shine through, as this 2019 does, it delivers layers of black cherry, mulberry, brambly raspberry and plum fruits along with bright acidity, saline, potting soil, cola bean, blood orange, wild forest mushroom and a hint of wood. If blind tasted, those familiar with Nuits-St.-Georges and Vosne-Romanée will find many commonalities here, and I would be hard pressed to guess correctly, old world v. new world here, even though I’m very experienced with these fabulous Brick House wines. Brick House uses very gentle fermentation(s) and maceration methods and mostly indigenous yeasts, the wines are all about transparency and purity, and they see a lengthy elevage in French oak, always well judged in new barrel use, depending on the vintage, with this one seeing only neutral barriques, and concentration of the individual 100% estate grown Pinot Noir wines.
One of Oregon’s legendary estates, Brick House Vineyard, founded by Doug Tunnell, who planted the first vines around his old brick house in the spring of 1990. With Doug putting in Pinot Noir first, then Chardonnay and true Gamay Noir, which has been a cult favorite for many years. Tunnell says that every vine was planted with a commitment to holistic methods that was rare in the Willamette Valley at that time and Brick House became certified organic farm. After pioneering biodynamics in the Willamette Valley, Brick House in 2005 achieved its goal of a full Demeter Biodynamic certification. Today, Tunnell on his beautiful southeast facing slopes in Ribbon Ridge hosts close to 45,000 vines, densely planted to better produce elegant and intense wines, and in particular deep Burgundy inspired Pinot Noir. This area of the Willamette Valley is mainly ancient seabed and has marine sediment soils and home to some fantastic vineyards, like Brick House and Beaux Freres, and there is a distinct terroir here and you can see why Burgundy inspired winemakers love this place, in particular these wines, but also Ribbon Ridge bottlings by Cameron and more recently Hundred Suns, all of which are incredible and unique Pinots. It should be noted, this lighter framed, low alcohol and lively 2019 really turned on the charm and personality with food, providing exceptional companionship with a grilled fresh caught salmon BLT and a seared pork belly appetizer, showing poise and a underlying structure to excel with a meal.
($34 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive