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Flat front label of wine

Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS95
  • JS95
0% ABV
  • JS98
  • V95
  • JS98
  • RP93
  • JS93
  • RP95
  • RP93
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

#17 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2014

An engaging, seductive nose suggests black cherry, bing cherry, dried cranberry, spice and rose petals, with a hint of anise. Entry on the palate is silky for a wine that quickly displays an uncommon level of generosity – it fairly explodes on the mid palate, with noteworthy extract. The anise notes suggested in its aromatics expand to include fennel and red licorice, quite exotic. Lots of spice box notes and some white pepper appear, with scorched earth, dried beef and dark roasted coffee notes. The wine finishes with real intensity, revealing slate and mineral tones, on a frame that is both lush and structured, without being heavy or sacrificing balance. This is a rich wine in the historical "MSR" lineage, with real power, but is a pure Pinot Noir beauty in the end. There are some structural bones here that promise a long, exciting evolution ahead for those who have some patience to lay this wine down in their cellars, though it will be difficult due its early, showy nature!

Critical Acclaim

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WS 95
Wine Spectator
Vibrant, expressive and multi layered, offering black cherry, red plum, sassafras and dead leaf flavors on a long and silky frame. The tannins are submerged, allowing the gorgeous flavors to float through the finish. Drink now through 2022.
JS 95
James Suckling
Aromas of ripe strawberries and violets follow through to a full body that shows very fine and velvety tannins. Full, flavorful, velvety and compacted — yet so beautiful. Needs time to open still. Superb texture. Better in 2019.
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Soter Vineyards

Soter Vineyards

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Soter Vineyards, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Soter Vineyards is the culmination of Tony Soter's life-long study in viticulture and winegrowing. Settled at Mineral Springs Ranch in the Yamhill-Carlton District of the Willamette Valley, Tony and his family invite you to experience this place they regard as a haven for raising exceptional Oregon Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.

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 temperate 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 even 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. The silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

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.

STC144064_2012 Item# 137144