Averaen Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The seed for Averae was planted when we (Baron, Noah & Steve from Banshee Wines in Sonoma) attended IPNC in the Willamette Valley three years ago. There they were, sitting around a campfire, in what is now a vineyard that we're sourcing 10 tons of Pinot Noir from this harvest, talking about the similarities between our cold and foggy Sonoma Coast and the various sub-appellations of the Willamette Valley. From the cold wind that funnels from the Pacific Ocean through low-lying gaps in the coastal mountain ranges (the Van Duzer Corridor in Oregon and the Petaluma Wind Gap in Sonoma), to the mix of marine sedimentary and volcanic influenced soils that play off of one another to create the micro-terroirs of each appellation. The similarities were shocking. What got them really excited was that we saw the potential to make wine at the very highest level, using what were considered at the time to be the very top vineyard sites, all at a cost that was considerably less that what we were experiencing in the Sonoma Coast. Oregon reminded them of where the Sonoma Coast was 10-15 years ago. Still finding its way in terms of consistency, but when done right, way over-delivering. The quality was there in a big way, but the prices were still so reasonable.
As fate would have it, they reconnected with their friend and winemaker Adam Smith, who made the very first vintage of Banshee Wines in California for them. Adam moved to Oregon in 2010 and has made wine at Shea Cellars, Domaine Serene, and has made all three vintages of the highly sought-after new project from Meo-Camuzet. Adam is a superstar winemaker who knows every grower here in the Valley. His connections and reputation are the only reason they are able to source this quality of fruit this early in our project’s life.
Home of some of the planet’s most amazingly elegant and expressive Pinot noir, the Willamette Valley is a pastoral, mixed landscape of green, bucolic rolling hills, dramatic forestlands and small, independent, friendly wine growers. As a leader in environmental stewardship, the valley has some of the nation’s most protective land use policies, with two-thirds of its vineyards farmed sustainably and over half, organically. While the valley claims a cool, continental climate, and is heavily influenced by the cold, moist winds of the Pacific Ocean, its warm and dry summers allow for the steady, even ripening of Pinot noir.
The potential of Willamette Valley Pinot noir continues to attract the investment of serious growers and winemakers both locally and from abroad, as naturally the finished wines bring accolades from professionals and enthusiasts. With a range of styles from delicate dried cherry, raspberry and hibiscus to stronger notes of truffle, mocha, plum and spice, a fine Willamette Valley Pinot noir is a perfect expression of both character and grace.