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Raptor Ridge Estate Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS91
  • W&S91
  • WE90
14.1% ABV
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This is a wine that is not coy or shy. The nose is outgoing with ripe cherry fruit, sweet pomegranate, and plum, with soft notes of clove cigar, and musk. The curvy palate is lush with red cherry, Italian plum, and Marionberries. Note the pleasing floral qualities of lavender, and brown spices like nutmeg, pepper, and chestnut. With astounding acidity, and polished tannins this wine will drink well through 2017. Enjoy with a wild mushroom risotto.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Soft in texture, ripe in flavor, with cola-accented blackberry, cherry and dried blueberry flavors that point into a long and peppery finish. Drink now through 2020. 600 cases made.
W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
Savory and sanguine in its initial impression, this estate wine from young vine fruit perks up with air, revealing dark plum fruit and hints of rye seeds. It finishes savory, with an impression of richness that lasts. (500 cases)
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
The ripeness is evident in the full-bodied, round fruit flavors of plum and black cherry. Gentle suggestions of clean earth, graphite and coffee grounds bring up further flavor notes as it winds through the finish.
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Raptor Ridge

Raptor Ridge Winery

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Raptor Ridge Winery, Chehalem Mountains, 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.

Chehalem Mountains

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The Chehalem Mountains is a northwest-southeast span of several distinct mountains, ridges and peaks in the northern part of the Willamette Valley. Of all of Willamette Valley's smaller AVAs, it is closest to the city of Portland. Its highest summit, Bald Peak at an elevation of 1,633 feet, serves to generate cooler air for the rest of the AVA and its hillside vineyards. The region covers 70,000 acres but only 1,600 acres are planted to vines; soils of the Chehalem Mountains are a mix of basalt, ocean sediment and loess.

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.

NWWRR12E_2012 Item# 208188