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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

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
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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 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.

PBC9018637_2010 Item# 126552