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McKinlay Ladd Hill Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Winemaker Notes

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    McKinlay

    McKinlay

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    McKinlay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Winemaker Matt Kinne’s family has been farming in Oregon since the early 1900's. His great-grandfather and McKinlay Vineyard's namesake, Reverend George Angus McKinlay, was a minister who dry-farmed fruit and nut trees in the Willamette Valley. 100 years later, Matt has established a cult following of deeply loyal fans. McKinlay Vineyards was founded in 1987 and has focused exclusively on Pinot Noir since 1995.

    Regularly noted for his elegant, Burgundian style, Matt is a firm believer in making his wines in the vineyard. His vines are dry farmed in well drained, volcanic soil and the shoots are trained upward, for optimal sun exposure and ventilation. Only one cluster is allowed to form on each shoot. Unsurprisingly, production is extremely low, with a focus rather on depth and concentration of flavor.

    Matt believes in then letting the fruit speak for itself, exhorting Pinot Noir's ability to "Express itself in such a confident and understated form. Pinot Noir at its finest is red, not black; freshly fragrant; richly and brightly flavored with complexity and length."

    The wines he produces are a beautiful expression of this ideal. They are fermented with native yeasts, lightly aged in no more than 25% new oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Or as Matt would put it: "The winemaker's hand is light to balance, not mute these attributes and promote the purest possible expression a vineyard has to offer."

    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.

    NWWMV14L_2014 Item# 211343