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Oak Knoll Five Mountains Vineyard Pinot Noir 1998

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Winemaker Notes

    This wine is currently the only single vineyard bottling made at Oak Knoll. Beginning in 1997, select barrels of wine from Five Mountains Vineyard were kept separate and bottled with the vineyard name. 1998 marked the seventh consecutive vintage in which the winery purchased the entire crop. Yields were right on target at two tons per acre. The small berries and small clusters possessed intense color and flavors. Look for this wine to be an outstanding cellar candidate with a minimum of ten years aging potential. Quality is definitely the hallmark of this extraordinary Pinot Noir site.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Oak Knoll

    Oak Knoll Winery

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    Oak Knoll Winery, Willamette Valley, Oregon
    All four vineyards are located in the northern Willamette Valley to the west and southwest of Portland. Ellis Vineyard is situated on the southern slope of the Chehalem Mountain ridge in Yamhill County. Five Mountains Vineyard and Gemini Vineyard are located in the Chehalem foothills north of Ellis in Washington County. Echo Hill Vineyard is located on Pumpkin Ridge near Helvetia at the most northerly edge of the Willamette Valley appellation.

    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.

    WLD1224085_1998 Item# 38608