Benton Lane First Class Pinot Noir 2006
Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Our First Class is produced only when we have a particular lot of wine that is very, very special, and the 2006 First Class Pinot Noir is such a wine. To start, we look to our favorite vineyard sites for the most balanced, flavorful and concentrated Pinot Noir. We ferment these lots in small fermenters called "pots". We baby them every step of the way and move the best wine into new French oak barrels for sixteen months of ageing. As the wines develop, we select the best barrels to eventually become "FIRST CLASS" - the best of the best.
The 2006 First Class Pinot Noir is a dark ruby colored wine that exhibits cherry and blackberry aromas with underlying scents of anise, mocha and blueberry. Very ripe tannins and balanced acidity create a rich, velvety texture. The exquisite balance of this wine makes it a very versatile wine with food.
Wine Spectator - "Supple and disarmingly enticing for its gorgeous raspberry, black cherry and Santa Rosa plum aromas and flavors, beautifully arrayed on a fine carpet of sweet tannins. Lingers expressively on the harmonious finish. Best now through 2016."
Benton Lane Winery
Steve and Carol Girard have been owners of Benton-Lane since 1988. Carol and Steve shared a passionate desire to produce great Pinot Noir but decided their native California was probably not the best place in which to make it. Instead, they headed to Oregon where the cooler climate offered the possibility of producing Pinot Noir with better balance and structure.
After countless months of looking at possible properties, Carol and Steve discovered an old sheep ranch called "Sunnymount" in the southern Willamette Valley. It was immediately apparent Sunnymount held great potential as a vineyard site. The property is in the foothills of the costal mountain range on the west side of the valley with hillsides sloping east by southeast, a perfect orientation for planting Pinot Noir.
Sunnymount straddled the border between Benton and Lane counties with some of the land being in each, and so the name Benton-Lane was born. Carol and Steve purchased the property in 1988 and planting of Pinot Noir commenced in 1989. Benton-Lane’s first vintage was 1992 which was custom produced at another local winery. This process continued until 1997 when the Benton-Lane winery was constructed.
Benton-Lane produced Pinot Noir exclusively until 2003. In 2004, the winery began full-scale commercial production of Pinot Gris from grapes purchased from carefully selected Willamette Valley growers. View all Benton Lane Wines
About Willamette ValleyView a map of Willamette Valley wineries (will-AAM-it)
Named for the river that runs through the valley from Portland to Eugene, Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the Northwest. While along the same north/south line as Seattle, the Willamette Valley is protected from Pacific rains by the Coast Range on the western border and the Cascade Ranges to the east. Though sunshine is typically plentiful, rainfall can occasionally be tricky, and the wines here vary vintage to vintage. Within the Willamette Valley are are number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
Notable FactsThe valley is known for its Pinots – Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. With a climate similar to Burgundy – in rainfall, sunlight hours and other climate factors – Pinot Noir has flourished here. Pinot Noir in Oregon produces wines that are fruit forward, yet complex, some with good agebility.
Other than Pinot Noir, many wineries grow Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Gris from Oregon is delightful in its texture and food friendliness. Chardonnay in the valley adapts well to the cool climate and produces lean, elegant wines.
About OregonOregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review5 }div>5 out of 5 stars
- 5 Stars: 1
- 4 Stars: 0
- 3 Stars: 0
- 2 Stars: 0
- 1 Stars: 0
1 rating, 1 with reviewC. G. Beck - Princeton, NJ53/3/2009Steven Girard's Benton Lane FC is simply amazing! Some famous Pinot noir quotes come to mind when enjoying a glass of this BL wine: "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic; "sex in a glass;" "a seductive yet fickle mistress!" All apply here. Rasberry, black cherry, and currant aromas highlight this velvetly, medium-body masterpiece. This is one to love...Related Products
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
- 5 Stars: