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Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Pinot Noir 2008
Long a source for benchmark Oregon Pinot Noir, the Seven Springs Vineyard is now a 'monopole' vineyard estate. Seven Springs was first planted in 1981. Occupying the "belly" of an east-facing ridge in the Eola Hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, the soils of Seven Springs spring from the mineral rich red volcanic rock and are planted to a mix of Oregon Heritage and Dijon clones. Winemaker: Isabelle Meunier with Dominique Lafon, consulting winemaker.
2008 Eola-Amity Hills La Source Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir held at first under dense blue fruit aromas, with just a little air this wine reveals fine black- and red cherry accents. It continues to evolve over time as the flavors lift off, the fresh, succulent fruit seemingly lit from within, with that high-toned grace on which Oregon originally developed its reputation. It has a hint of the forest floor and a seductive, lingering aftertaste of cherry skin. This could benefit from cellaring; then serve with roast chicken.
The 2008 Pinot Noir La Source received the same elevage but was picked from a different parcel of the vineyard. It is slightly darker in color with more perfumed and complex aromatics with the addition of some earthy minerality. Savory, supple, and elegant, it will benefit from 3-4 years of additional bottle age and offer a drinking window extending from 2013 to 2023.
A prestigious and distinctive region for red wines in northwestern Italy, Piedmont is responsible for some of the country’s longest-lived, most sought-after wines. Set in the foothills of the Alps, the terrain consists of visually stunning rolling hills. The most prized vines are planted at higher altitudes on the warmer, south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot, muggy summers. Despite the rain shadow effect of the Alps, precipitation takes place year-round, and a cooling fog provides moisture that aids in the ripening of grapes.
Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin, and juicy red fruit. However, the most prized variety is Nebbiolo, named for the region’s omnipresent fog (“nebbia” in Italian). This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins, and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure, and the best examples, when made in a traditional style, require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. More affordable and imminently drinkable Nebbiolo can be found in the larger Langhe area as well as Gattinara, Ghemme, and other less-prominent appellations. Dolcetto is Piedmont’s other important red grape, ready to drink as quickly as Barbera but with lower acidity and higher tannin. White wines are less important here but can be high in quality, and include Arneis, Gavi, and sweet, fizzy wines made from Muscat.
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.
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.
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.