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Expression 44 degrees Willakia Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS91
  • RP90
14.1% ABV
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Willakia vineyard is located towards the northern end of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, which is located within the Willamette Valley, home to many of Oregon's finest Pinot Noir vineyards. During the growing season, ocean breezes push through the Van Duzer Corridor in the Coastal Range maintaining a consistently cool climate that is the hallmark of all great Pinot Noir winegrowing regions. This climate, combined with the shallow, well-drained volcanic soils of the Nekia series that dominate this area, are the primary reasons the Eola-Amity Hills AVA is emerging as one of the world's most exciting winegrowing regions.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
This is lovely, tempting the nose with violet-tinged currant and blackberry fruit, washing easily over the tongue with a graceful balance of fruit and spice, lingering effectively as the flavors hover. Drink now through 2014.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Pinot Noir Willakia Vineyard offers a deeper color, greater aromatic complexity, but essentially a similar personality. This smooth, seamless wine can be enjoyed over the next 4-6 years.
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Expression, Willamette Valley, Oregon
2006 44 degrees Willakia Vineyard Pinot Noir
ex·pres·sion / (ik-‘spre-shen)
1: an act, process, or instance of representing in a medium
(a): something that manifests, embodies, or symbolizes something else

2: great pinot noir! (see below)

Pinot Noir is notoriously fickle, but can be brilliant when grown in the right terroir. Expression Wines represent a commitment to producing the finest Pinot Noir from the best sub-appellations on the West Coast.

Our vineyards at different latitudes represent different 'Expressions' of great Pinot Noir and our winemaker, Richard Sowalsky, is dedicated to crafting only the best wines from each region. Our winegrowing regions include the Santa Rita Hills (34°), the Sonoma Coast (38°), the Anderson Valley (39°), and the Eola-Amity Hills (44°) of Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Our goal is to showcase both the 'Grand-Cru' vineyards and the terroir of each sub-appellation. Each vintage, we will be bringing to you our finest blends from each latitude as well as small single vineyard designate lots that represent the best of what our vineyards can deliver!

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 temperate 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 even 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. The silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

HNYE44WPN06C_2006 Item# 97549