"The 2006 Pinot Noir Estate was aged entirely in seasoned oak. It is light ruby-colored with a lovely bouquet of cherry and wild strawberry. This leads to a velvety textured, elegant wine with savory red fruits, spice, excellent concentration and a fruit-filled finish. The wine's impeccable balance may allow for further development in the bottle but it can be enjoyed now. Achieving this level of elegance in a vintage like 2006 is a singular accomplishment." -Wine Advocate
"... Eyrie wines are a model of delicacy and restraint, of perfumed finesse rather than overextraction and power, honest instead of confected, and in no need of any assistance from the make-up artist." -Mark Savage MW, The World of Fine Wine, Issue 11, 2006
"The Eyrie Vineyards was the first to bring Pinot noir vines to the Willamette Valley in the 1960s; its Estate version bears the classic suggestions of blackberry, spice and leather that brought Oregon Pinot noir to the world's attention." -Martha Stewart Living
David Lett, aka “Papa Pinot”, was the first visionary to realize that Oregon’s Willamette Valley was the best place in the world to grow the finest Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy. In the early 1960s Lett explored high-quality Pinot growing possibilities around the world and discovered the “secret” from the French that the finest wines come from grapes which grow at the climatic edge of where they will ripen in coincidence with the end of the growing season. David and Diana Lett planted the Willamette Valley’s first cool climate vinifera wine grapes in 1966 and produced their first vintage in 1970. David Lett passed away in 2008.
Today, his son Jason manages the The Eyrie Vineyards. The philosophy and style have not changed. The vineyards are farmed organic, vines are old, yields kept low, yeasts are native, alcohols low, acids balanced, winemaking non-interventist, new oak very minimal to non-existant. The achievement is ageworthy, characterful wines of finesse, elegance and food friendliness. The Eyrie Vineyards was named for the home (eye-ree) of red-tailed hawks that share the Lett's vineyard land in the Dundee Hills.
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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 is a number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
The 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.
Oregon 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.
Opened it up and got huge reductive notes. Went away after 45 minutes in the decanter. Worth the wait - delicate yet savory. Red & wild fruits, spices, lovely meaty characteristic in the palate. Great finish. Will do well with a couple more years in bottle.
Most 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 & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.