On the Oregon Trail Part 2: Westrey Wine Company Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007, Dundee Hills

Dundee Hills Pinot Noir! I guess this is my first single vineyard Pinot from there. Guys, I am afraid to say (well, not really afraid, more intriguingly surprised!): I really like Oregon Pinot Noir! The more bottles I had the better, more chequered and more intriguing those wines got. Again an absolutely convincing wine! Compared to the Evesham Wood Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008 a totally different style and vintage. But first things first! Today’s wine is the single vineyard Pinot Noir Oracle Vineyard from the Westrey Wine Company (sounds like a large cooperation, but isn’t, just 22 acres) in McMinnville. The company was established in 1993 by Amy Wesselman and David Autrey. The Oracle Vineyard in Dundee Hills AVA is with more than 30 years of age the oldest vineyard of the winery. This wine from 2007 is a blend of 24% 30-year-old own-rooted (!) Pommard clones, 70% of younger Dijon clones 777 and 6% Dijon clones 115. The vineyard faces due south and sits at an average of about 650 feet and is L.I.V.E. (Low Input Viticulture and Enology Inc.) certified. The fermentation took place in 1500 litre open-top tanks and was aged in mixed, neutral intended, oak.

The colour of the Oracle Vineyard Pinot looked exceedingly transparent and really bright. Unusual for an unfiltered and unfined wine with plenty of depot. The rim seemed a bit watery and already slightly red-brown. The nose showed various autumn scents, a bit of funk, pickled cucumber, traces of flintiness, quite a lot of tart and earthy strawberries complemented with some raspberries and a certain floral character. The latter evolved to an expressive and unpretentious perfume of violets. Summarized: a full of character, lean, mineral and unobtrusive nose of a semi bodied Pinot Noir. Right from the start the structure of the wine appeared rather fresh, lean, eclectic and pretty fruitful (not rich or porky). I got reserved flavours of tart seeming maraschino cherries, plenty of very ripe strawberries, fiery earthy and mineral characteristics of flint, rotting wood as well as a good portion of wet foliage. After one and a half hours the Oracle showed its whole potential. Besides the already mentioned characteristics the development tended to a more balanced and accessible Pinot type. I got more and more sweet (just fruit, no obtrusiveness, no kitsch) fruit of strawberries and raspberries, hints of cantucci, bright nut chocolate and nice earthed not-so-dark cherries. No need to mention the acid. Absolutely well pronounced! The finish was decently long lasting, but to the end a bit drying out quickly. Just a minor drawback! Overall a very fine, lean, expressive fruitful, life-affirming, invigorating, yes … almost bewitching Pinot Noir with a structuring mineral backbone! Really nice experience! One thing is for sure: There is more to come!

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