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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

WillaKenzie Estate Pierre Leon Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • BH91
  • RP90
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Begin with a touch of sweetness suggesting strawberries, plums, and blackberries, whose richness is framed by ample acidity and firm tannin structure. The long finish displays toasty caramel and white pepper. 2006 Pierre Léon will improve in the cellar for 1 to 2 years and age well for 8 to 10 years from its release date. This classic pinot noir will pair beautifully with a wide range of dishes including osso buco, filet mignon topped with mushrooms, lamb chops, seared duck breast, and grilled Portobello mushroom.

Critical Acclaim

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BH 91
Burghound.com
Here the expressive nose is impressively complex with a pretty and layered mix of both red and blue pinot fruit notes, violets and briar hints that also characterize the delicious, supple and attractively textured medium-bodied flavors that deliver fine length and while the finish is dusty, it avoids the dryness of the Aliette. Worth a look if you enjoy understated pinot.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Pinot Noir Pierre Leon is mostly Dijon clone also aged for 14 months in 50% new French oak. It exhibits a similar friendly personality with plenty of plush, tasty black fruits and good length.
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WillaKenzie Estate

WillaKenzie Estate

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WillaKenzie Estate, 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.

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.

PBC9006851_2006 Item# 98352