2018 The Eyrie Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Estate, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This wine, made by Jason Lett, is a beauty, absolutely spot and epic in every way, it does try to be something it’s not, nor is it flashy, but wow, this is gorgeous Pinot Noir that seduces and captivates you from start to finish and is deepens with time in the glass, opening up with fine detail, perfumed fruit, mineral, spice and a sultry background of earthy elements. I’m not sure what I was expecting, when I pulled this bottle out to share with my mom, and I’m happy to report this Eyrie Estate Dundee Hills Pinot surpassed any hopes I had, in fact after my first sip I could have easily mistaken this Oregon classic for a much more expensive Burgundy, it took me some of my favorite wines of the 1990s, including Henri Gouges’ Nuits-Saint-Georges, though it is a touch more generous and supple in mouth feel and the terroir influence of the Jory soils does finally give it away as an Oregon wine with an array of spice, heightened rose petal aromatics and touch of graphite. The fruit profile unfolds subtly with black cherry, briar laced rad raspberry, wild plum and cranberry along with hints of cinnamon, game, leather, anise, orange tea and woody mushrooms all of which flow harmoniously in the mouth in an impressive seamless fashion. There is a confidence and natural poise to this vintage that brings an added degree of drinking pleasure and this 2018 estate Pinot is at its best with food, with country style meals a perfect match, no fussy cuisine needed.
The Eyrie Vineyards, founded back in 1965, is a legendary pioneer in Oregon Pinot producer with Jason’s dad David Lett being one of the state’s hall of fame winemakers, known for true authentic and natural style wines, something that continues in modern times. The vineyards used are organic and in the cellar, Eyrie is all about transparency and low intervention which means, as Lett notes, minimal racking, extended lees contact, complete and spontaneous malolactic fermentation, no fining, and minimal filtration. The Estate Pinot, as Lett continues, combines Pinot from Eyrie’s five certified-organic estate vineyards that are farmed with holistic methods including regenerative no-till practices, with strict attention paid not just to the vines but to the healthy networks of soil organisms that support them. The grapes were all hand picked and carefully sorted with 100% de-stemming on this wine and it was put into a variety of fermenters, from small one-ton bins to a large 5 ton wooden cuve, to undergo native primary fermentation. After that Jason raises his Estate Pinot for about 18-24 months in mostly neutral French oak with somewhere close to 10% new barriques being employed in any given year. Recently I reviewed The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris and was so impressed I ordered a few bottles, with this one being the one I opened first and one I was thrilled to try, I will break into their Pinot Meunier bottling at some point in the near future. I am really glad I re-discovered these Eyrie wines, they are excellent wines that have hit the spot for me and like Cameron’s wines, keep me intrigued in the Willamette Valley and especially in the wines from the iron rich volcanic soils of the Dundee Hills.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive