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Shea West Hill Pinot Noir 2011

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • RP90
13% ABV
  • RP91
  • WE91
  • WS93
  • WE91
  • RP90
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Dijon clone 777 is blended with Pommard, and Dijon clone 115 to create this wine with lovely aromatics and a palate of dry cranberry and pie cherry. The tannins are polished and beautifully integrated, and the wine is supple and balanced. It's the most forward of Shea's 2011s.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
Sourced from a delineated section of this sloped, expansive vineyard, this Pinot has a fair amount of peppery herb, along with brambly berry flavor. It's tart, spicy and sharp, but beautifully balanced. Still quite young and tight, this one needs plenty of breathing time, or cellar it for a few more years.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
This fresh and silky red offers finely tuned tannins balancing the supple currant and pomegranate flavors on a light, enticing frame. Lingers pleasantly.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Representing a new but essentially self-explanatory site-designate totally 419 cases, the 2011 Pinot Noir Shea West Hill was treated to 60% new barrels, but their resinous contribution has been very well digested into a seamlessly, finely but tightly tannic, fresh cherry- and pomegranate-dominated whole. Hints of ginger add to the sense of finishing invigoration in energetic and long-lined if relatively firm Pinot. With time this should loosen up a bit and let itself and us in on a bit more fun. I suspect it will perform admirably through at least 2022.
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Shea

Shea Wine Cellars

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Shea Wine Cellars, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Shea Vineyard, located in the Yamhill Foothills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, was first planted to wine grapes by Dick Shea in 1989 and 1990. Today the vineyard property consists of 200 hillside acres of which 140 are planted to wine grapes, largely Pinot Noir and a few acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The south facing vineyard sits in a viticultural region called the Willakenzie District. The soil of the vineyard is shallow and very well draining with sandstone subsoil. The vineyard has never been irrigated.

Currently the winery supplies several top Pinot Noir producers in Oregon (Archery Summit, Beaux Freres, Ken Wright, Panther Creek, and St. Innocent) and one in California (Sine Qua Non). The Wine Enthusiast in its annual review of Oregon wines in December 2000, wrote, "It is no coincidence that our two top rated wines... were made from fruit from Richard Shea's perennially superb Willamette Valley vineyard."

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.

FBR107695_2011 Item# 123997