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Benton Lane First Class Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

WS 92
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.

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Benton Lane

Benton Lane

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Benton Lane, , Oregon
Benton Lane
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.

Lombardy

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Singularly aromatic, often sweet, and always enjoyable, Muscat never takes itself too seriously. Muscat is actually an umbrella name for a diverse set of grapes, some of which are genetically related while others are not. The two most important versions are Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria, the former being of considerably higher quality. Both are grown throughout the world and can be made in a wide range of styles, from dry and aromatic wines to sweet and richly perfumed dessert wines. It is well known in Italy's Piedmont region for Moscato d’Asti, a slightly sparkling semi-sweet wine that is refreshing and low in alcohol.

In the Glass

Muscat wines possess intense aromatics of peaches, rose petals, geranium, orange blossom, and lychee, often with a hint of sweet spice, and always with a uniquely grapey character that is uncommon in other wines.

Perfect Pairings

Thanks to its naturally low alcohol levels, Muscat is a perfect match for spicy Asian cuisine, especially when the wine has a little bit of residual sugar. Off-dry Muscat can work well with lighter desserts like key lime pie and lemon meringue, while fully sweet Muscat-based dessert wines are enjoyable after dinner with an assortment of cheeses.

Sommelier Secret

Muscat is one of the oldest known grape varieties, dating as far back as the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing one of the Muscat varieties.

CWC981332_2006 Item# 97530

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