2009 Brittan Vineyards, Pinot Noir “Basalt Block” Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Robert Brittan, former GM at Stag’s Leap in Napa, was bitten by the Oregon Pinot bug and with his wife Ellen found a great site in McMinnville in 2004 and have been making great wine ever since. I first got a bottle of Brittan from Carlton Winemaker’s Studio after hearing about it from a friend, and was very impressed with the depth and structure. Brittan has unique soils in his vineyard and gets some interesting terroir character from each selection on his estate, the Basalt has higher acidity and gives a lighter and edgy quality with flinty red mineral notes, while the other block gives much more ripe notes, both are wonderful expressions and are opulent in fruit and texture. I especially love the 2009 Brittan Vineyards, Pinot Noir “Basalt Block” for it’s pureness and life with a sublime silky mouth feel and ultra long finish, while still vibrant and full of verve. The Brittan Basalt has the best features of mineral spice and an almost Spatburgunder like essence while much more full and rich fruit, including loganberry, black cherry and plum layers. the oak is near perfect in framing the wine without feeling heavy handed and the slate like mineral tones and lifting acidity are lovely complexities along with tea and asian spices. Hints of blueberry and lavender oil linger on the finish of this beautiful wine from the heart of the Willamette Valley. Brittan, just put the finishing touches on his own winery in McMinnville and should be opening soon, after making his first handful of wines at Carlton Winemaker’s Studio, where Ellen is the manager, and Brittan also makes a Syrah which I have yet to get my hands on, which could be interesting.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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