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WillaKenzie Estate Aliette Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • W&S94
  • WS91
  • RP91
13.5% ABV
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • WW92
  • WE91
  • W&S91
  • WS91
  • RP90
  • W&S92
  • WS90
  • RP90
  • WS91
  • WS91
  • WS91
  • RP91
  • W&S90
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2010 Pinot Noir Aliette is ruby/garnet in color with an exceptional bouquet of dried violets, lavender, strawberry and hints of cedar. Balanced, supple and very expressive on the palate, it manages to be light and graceful yet powerful at the same time. Red currant, black cherry, raspberry, tea leaves and earth give this medium-bodied wine layers of complexity that linger on the palate for well over a minute. This well-rounded wine will age gracefully for 8 to 10 years, and should be cellared for 1 to 2 years from release. If opening sooner, decant at least one hour before serving. We recommend pairing this feminine wine with a Pacific Northwest grilled salmon in a creamy dill sauce or a classic herb-crusted roast chicken.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
Tarry and a touch foresty, this wine has a generous red cherry note filigreed with a whiff of smoke. It delivers its flavors with poise and grace, black cherry lingering with a tension derived from vinous, tree bark elements and a hint of tar.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Sleek, transparent and silky in texture, offering black cherry, espresso and subtle smoke notes on a delicate frame, lingering easily and expressively. Drink now through 2018. 350 cases made.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
From the estate's oldest, high elevation, "Pommard clone" vines, the WillaKenzie's 2010 Pinot Noir Aliette delivers and umami-rich amalgam of roasted red meats and shitake mushrooms allied to fresh, tart-edged cherry and plum. Here the spice from barrel is well-integrated into a fine-grained and dense yet far from heavy palate. Black tea, moss, and forest floor notes emerge with a bit of airing, lending a sense of surprising but positive evolution, while salinity serves for welcome saliva-inducement in a downright gripping finish. This impressive bottling should develop even more depth with a few years in bottle and reward return visit through at least 2020, and hopefully (as well as quite possibly) beyond.
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WillaKenzie Estate

WillaKenzie Estate

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WillaKenzie Estate, Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Video of winery

WillaKenzie Estate is located in Oregon's Willamette Valley on rolling hillsides in the Chehalem Mountains. The winery was named after the Willakenzie soil on which the vineyards are planted to convey the influence that the soil imparts on the wine's flavors and aromas. The vineyards are planted with grapes of the Pinot family, mostly new Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Alsace. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are cool climate grapes, which are particularly well adapted to Oregon.

Yamhill-Carlton District

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Yamhill-Carlton, characterized by pastoral, rolling hills composed of shallow, quick-draining, ancient marine soil, is ideal for Pinot noir and other cool-climate-loving varieties. It is in the rain shadow of the Coastal Range to its west, whose highest point climbs to an altitude of 3,500 feet. Yamhill-Carlton is actually surrounded by mountains on three sides: Chehalem Mountains to the north, the Dundee Hills to the east and the western Coastal Range to its west, which, when it lets Pacific air through, serves to cool the region.

Vineyards grow on the ridges surrounding the two small communities of Yamhill and Carlton and cover about 1,200 acres of this 60,000 acre region, which roughly makes a horse-shoe shape on a map.

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.

PBC9018637_2010 Item# 126552