Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir 2017
The 2017 vintage shows a delicacy and elegance we haven’t encountered in a few years, and our 2017 Estate Pinot Noir is no exception. Aromas of damp earth, warm spice, red cane berries and faint oak spice carry over to the palate, with balancing acidity and fine grain tannins showing potential for aging over the next 8-12 years.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A very foresty array of red berries, leaves and herbs with woody spices, all making for a complex proposition. The palate has a nicely contained feel with a fluid build of red to darker cherries, in a very approachable mode. Nicely cast tannin at the finish, which holds well. Drink or hold.
This pitch-perfect expression of grape, vineyard and AVA opens with silky raspberry fruit. It’s packed deep into a focused, evocative wine with excellent aging potential. Light highlights of cinnamon, chili powder and green tea with a whiff of earthy compost contribute depth, texture and complexity. Drink now through the mid-2020s.
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.
Running north to south, adjacent to the Willamette River, the Eola-Amity Hills AVA has shallow and well-drained soils created from ancient lava flows (called Jory), marine sediments, rocks and alluvial deposits. These soils force vine roots to dig deep, producing small grapes with great concentration.
Like in the McMinnville sub-AVA, cold Pacific air streams in via the Van Duzer Corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidity in its grapes. This great concentration, combined with marked acidity, give the Eola-Amity Hills wines—namely Pinot noir—their distinct character. While the region covers 40,000 acres, no more than 1,400 acres are covered in vine.