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Raptor Ridge Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • W&S92
12.5% ABV
  • JS94
  • W&S91
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12.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The nose is pretty, with soft notes of red fruits like red currants, red raspberry and a meaty spice, with a hint of Oregon forest floor that cries out for chanterelles. The palate has an ample finish with notes of black tea and cherry compote. Enjoy now with chicken marsala, grilled herbed salmon, or cellar to see how this wine evolves. Feel free to decant this wine to encourage aroma development at the table.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
Surprisingly delicate for such an exuberant vintage, this leads with scents of violet and bergamot, with flavors that amplify the floral notes, informed by a fine cherry tang. But it’s the texture that impresses, light, lifted and mouthwatering. A wine for plank-roasted salmon.
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Raptor Ridge

Raptor Ridge Winery

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Raptor Ridge Winery, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Five distinctive vineyards throughout Oregons Northern Willamette Valley supply premium wine grapes for Raptor Ridge. Shea Vineyard and Wahle Vineyard, located between the small towns of Carlton and Yamill in the Willakenzie area supply our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, respectively. Located high in the Red Hills of Dundee, Murto Vineyard provides some intensely spiced Pinot Noir grown in volcanic, Jory soils. Both Murto and Whale vineyards are well over 20 years old- among the oldest in the Willamette Valley winegrowing region. Our youngest vineyards: Harbinger and Teunge vineyards, are just now coming on-line supplying us with Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc fruit from DiJion clones.

In each vintage year, Raptor Ridge produces about 1000 cases of wines using traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques. High quality is the focus, not higher quantities. Raptor Ridge shares a twelve-acre estate with families of Raptors (buteos and accipiters)- birds of prey such as Red Tail Hawks, Kestrels and Sharp-Shinned Hawks. We are nestled atop a heavily forested ridge in the Chehalem Mountains 25 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Our foggy ridge is ideally suited to a naturally cool winemaking regime important in capturing delicate aromas and flavors. Our wines age in French oak with racking in synchrony with the full moon. Our goal is to deliver in our wines all of the natural flavor, delicate aromas and beauty offered by Oregons Willamette Valley winegrowing region.

Our winemaking philosophy has two tenets: one committing the winemaker to deep personal involvement with the vines and every barrel of wine; the other balancing science with tradition. Our approach to winemaking focuses as much on the vineyard as it does the cellar. Winemaker Scott Shull is personally involved alongside growers and field hands in pruning, trellising, cluster counting, cluster thinning, leaf pulling, quality monitoring, and all harvest decisions. Uniquely- during harvest, Scott is in the field picking fruit alongside seasonal workers, and personally transports the wine grapes back to Raptor Ridge were he oversees the "crush." Family and friends are involved in processing the fruit into fermentation vats while Scott personally adjusts nutrients, inoculation, fermentation processes, and wine handling procedures. Its Scotts philosophy to intervene as little as possible in the miracle of wine, while employing a full knowledge of fermentation science only to avoid diminishment of quality or removal of flaws.

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 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.

NWWRR13B_2013 Item# 141109