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Dominio Wines IV Pondering Ptolemy Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Winemaker Notes

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    Dominio Wines

    Dominio Wines

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    Dominio Wines, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Dominio's vines of Tempranillo and Syrah, cracking and spiraling as they grow, seem ancient. In reality, they are just fifteen years old; the winery owners mark the day they planted the vines by the face of their eldest son of the same age. The vines’ skin folds, like that of an old sun-weathered person, and bends in interesting ways. The land has begun to speak to the vines, telling them secrets of the place where their roots grow. The winemaker only hears echoes of this conversation, but the talk is always about black mountain fruit such as dark huckleberries, black raspberries, and wild blackberries, with hints of desert sage and star anise. The winemaker can only hope he is getting the best of this conversation.

    The estate's vineyard in Mosier, Oregon was once visited by generations of Chinook Indians and famous American explorers traveling by canoes. Dominio biodynamically farms this land, and has planted Tempranillo, Syrah, and Viognier. In May 2012, the winery added small parcels of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and, perhaps eccentrically, Petit Verdot.

    Oregon is a remarkable fit for Pinot noir, so the owners have placed the winery in the cooler Willamette Valley and plucked grapes from eight deft farmers that see eye to eye with them on natural farming practices. In the fall of 2017, Dominio has started planting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes on its new Estate property in Carlton.

    Dominio hopes you will visit in person -- walk the labyrinth and taste the wines. Who knows, you may even hear one of the vineyard’s conversations.

    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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.

    LSB193260_2008 Item# 193260