My latest trip to Oregon took me to the oldest winery in the Valley. The Eyrie Estate in Dundee Hills was founded in 1966 by David and Diana Lett. Since then those two, and for a few years their son, gained the reputation of one of best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers in Willamette Valley. The grapes for today’s Estate Pinot Noir came from younger vineyards like: Stonehedge, Sisters and Rolling Green Farm. These were planted in the 1980s. Anyway, since the 1960s all grapes were grown without the use of insecticides, herbicides or systemic fungicides. A close "interaction" with nature has always been of grave importance for the winemakers. Right from the start! One more ... anyway, barrel aging took 11 months in mostly neutral oak casks and the wine wasn’t fined nor filtered.
The Estate Pinot had a bright cool red colour with plenty of transparency and only slight discolourations on the rim. To me, it made a bit of a sleepy and faint impression. Can't tell you why exactly! The bouquet appeared very balanced, elegant and a bit reserved. I got tamed hints of the inflationary mentioned Oregon Funk, some dirty and mild mushrooms, foliage, maybe a bit of rotting wood, soft smoke and moist forest floor. So, plenty of autumnal nose feelings! Besides that I got muted fragrances of austere and well-ripened strawberries and an accumulation of tart’ish dark red cherries. I might describe it as a rather lean, but not really super filigree, pretty precise, definitely not lush, a bit cool, not super fruitful and austere Pinot nose expression. At first the taste seemed a bit very acidic, rather austere and not really blessed by tons of fruit flavours. After a while, maybe one hour or so, more accessible flavours of autumn forest greenery or better - brown-red’ery and tart strawberries and dark cherries evolved. In a very quiet and reserved way! The tannic structure seemed smoothened, but no way smooth! The overall character denies the use of such a term. It was too tart, mineral'istic, maybe even a bit rejecting, surely elegant and possibly bit shy. It was more like a wine you need to get accustomed to. The finish was fine, but not overwhelming and the concentration rather 2007ish. Perhaps not the best Oregon Pinot so far, but again a very different kind of Pinot. Maybe the most, Oh hell - I can’t believe what I am about to write right now, Burgundian Pinot Noir so far!
By the way ... the Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1999 in the backround was totally oxidized! The cork popped out of the bottle like nothing. I wonder why the bottle did not leak in the cellar!?! What a shame!