2018 Hundred Suns, Pinot Noir, Sequitur Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Still youthful, juicy and vivid, the 2018 Sequitur Vineyard Pinot Noir by Hundred Suns is sensual, vinous and beautifully layered Pinot with black cherry, red currant, plum and red berry fruits on the bright and lively palate along with a burst of spice, mineral tones, wild herbs, orange tea and subtle wood notes. These Hundred Suns wines, are very unique, as I’ve noted before in my prior reviews, always have vibrant almost Gamay or Cru Beaujolais like character to them, with this Sequitur Vineyard following that form, again reminding me of wines by Jean Foillard of Morgon fame and or Jean-Louis Dutraive’s gorgeous and perfumed Domaine de la Grand’Cour Fleurie. The vines are set at about 450 feet up in the warmer Ribbon Ridge AVA and are set in the classic Willakenzie, marine sediment soils with Mike Etzel, founder of Beaux Freres, 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. In past vintages, Coulter’s winemaking, really depends on the vintage, and has had some years done in three separate fermentation lots, with one being 100% de-stemmed in traditional style, one being about 50% whole cluster with stem inclusion, and lastly a tiny batch done in full carbonic maceration. Then all these would get blended together to make for a very distinctive effort. Though lately, with his 2022 bottling, I see he’s gone for making for a single lot of Pinot from here with close to 33% whole cluster, resulting in a wine with supple mouth feel, a vigorous crunchiness, along with brambly spices and Chinato like herbs. The wood aging, again, was done in a way that almost no oak shows in the glass, showcasing the purity and delicacy of this awesome wine. Unlike areas like the Dundee Hills, the Ribbon Ridge AVA, is non volcanic, with as Coulter explains the region was formed by eons of tectonic movement has lifted the ancient seabeds to where they lie today, making it one of Oregon’s most prized Pinot Noir terroirs, as this wine, which I had been saving, certainly proves with some flair.

Coming from Mike Etzel’s coveted home vineyard, of Beaux Freres fame, where Hundred Suns Grant Coulter worked as head winemaker, 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, along with the mentioned Dutraive Freurie and Jean Foillard, who’s Morgon Cru Beaujolais are legendary. These Hundred Suns wines are expressive, authentic and thrillingly energetic, I feel they are best with some bottle age, as this one shows, it is just reaching its full potential and should continue to drink well for another 5 to 10 years. 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, but of course the single vineyard offerings are top notch collectables, especially this Sequitur Vineyard and the Bednarik, as well as the rare Own Rooted Pinot Noir. I highly recommend getting on the Hundred Suns mailing list and be sure not to miss these other-worldly Pinots, and not over look their Chardonnay, Gamay, Syrah, Cabernet and Grenache offerings.
($50/65 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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