2004 Scott Paul, Pinot Noir, La Paulée, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The La Paulée cuvée was crafted from a blend of selected lots from all of the vineyards that were sourced by Scott Paul, the now defunct winery that was a cult label and well known for quality Pinots, especially those, like this one that was made by the talented hands of Kelley Fox, who continues to produce awesome wines under her own label. This 2004 is maturing nicely and is beautifully silken on the medium bodied palate that has stayed impeccably fresh and balanced in what was a ripe vintage with layers of black cherry, sweet red currant, crushed red berries and delicate strawberry fruits along with a little toasty wood, sassafras or cola bean, earthy truffle and rose florals adding to the complexity here in this polished wine. These wines, all small lot multi-vineyard offerings, were classically crafted in the Burgundian tradition with low-yields in the vineyard, hands off vinification (methods) in the winery with no pumps, no inoculation, no enzymes, no additives, no fining and no filtering before bottling. The wines saw some whole cluster and were gently cared for with an elevage in mostly used barrels with about 20% new French oak, depending on the year’s fruit quality. The vineyards were always exceptional and usually the Scott Paul bottlings included grapes from Maresh, Momtazi, Shea, Ribbon Ridge and Stoller, all of which were and are awesome sites with Wright getting lots of Maresh’s biodynamic selection of 40 plus year old own rooted Pommard clone that provided a glorious backbone for his wines.

Scott and Martha Wright, the founders of Scott Paul Wines, were located in Carlton, Oregon, but have, somewhat sadly, sold their interest, in the winery in 2014, after a great run of wines, solely focused on the region’s Pinot Noir, which I’ve enjoyed many times over the years. The winery’s wines were tributes to elegance and finesse, in what Scott Wright said, were the benchmarks of what he considered to be the very heart and soul of Pinot Noir, expressing the best of the Willamette Valley’s terroirs. Wright launched Scott Paul Wines in 1999 with a burning passion and some exciting contracts at highly coveted vineyard sites, along with a small investments, and importantly, a winemaker to make these lofty dreams into reality, with Greg LaFollette, who helped Flowers become a top winery, who was a friend and mentor to Scott in the early years. The rest is history, with the Scott Paul Pinots getting better and better over the next decade with the arrival of Kelley Fox, who also made wines at The Eryie, and her rawly transparent style being a big hit with enthusiasts. Interestingly, Scoot Wright also imported Burgundies under the name, Scott Paul Selections, including wines from Romain Taupenot of Domaine Taupenot-Merme, Aleth Girardin of Domaine Aleth Girardin, and Thierry Violot of Domaine Thierry Violot-Guillemard, and he also had his own Burgundy, from Chambolle produced, so you can see his inspiration. Some bottles of Scott Paul Wines are still to be found, like this one and they are worth chasing down, especially from the better vintages, with my favs being 2004, 2006 and 2008. There’s a lot of life yet in this 2004 La Paulée and I’m glad I got a few bottles left, which I will age a further 3 to 5 years, which I think might be when it hits its peak window.
($30-60 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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