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Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS94
  • W&S94
  • RP92
12.8% ABV
  • RP92
  • RP93
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12.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The wine opens with aromas of blueberries, yellow plums, hints of oak spice, and a blackberry sorbet. The palate lush and full, with black cherries and blueberries over lively acidity and a robust backbone of tannin.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Smooth, round and expressive, light-footed but bursting with currant, blackberry and floral flavors, hinting at mint and wet stone as the finish lingers effortlessly against fine-grained tannins.
W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
The wine marries place and vintage with effortless grace. Its generous dark cherry and plum scents flow into a seamless, to-the-rim fullness of flavor, grounded by a dark basalt minerality, which seems to give the wine energy and propulsion. The tension between fruit and structure, between grip and give, makes this wine the sort to age—or enjoy now with grilled salmon.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Combining fruit from several sweet spots on their property (and reflecting two Dijon clones and a bit of Wadenswil), the Bethel Heights 2010 Pinot Noir Casteel Reserve displays a delightfully juicy and flower-bedecked amalgam of red and black currant, elderberry and cherry, as well as a polished feel and saliva-inducing undertone of nut oils and salted, fatty roasting pan scrapings that send my salivary glands into palpitations. And there's a real ping of energy in this wine’s dynamic and sustained finish.
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Bethel Heights

Bethel Heights

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Bethel Heights, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Planted between 1977 and 1979, Bethel Heights was one of the first vineyards in the Eola Hills, a chain of hills in the center of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The estate winery was established in 1984 and currently produces 10,000 cases of wine annually, most of which still comes from the 50 acre estate vineyard. Bethel Heights specializes in Pinot Noir, but also produces Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.

Willamette Valley

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a Mediterranean climate moderated by a Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and winter.

Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant differences in wine styles between vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. Silty, loess soils are found in the Chehalem Mountains.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

NWWBH10CR_2010 Item# 122968