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WillaKenzie Estate Pierre Leon Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • W&S93
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

This youthful wine features a striking ruby garnet color. Complex aromas of blackberry and red plum follow lively notes of black pepper, clove and forest floor. Red cherries and currants dominate the fruit components in the mouth while flavors of pepper and tobacco also emerge in harmony with the aromas. The texture is rich on entry and glides all the way to an impressively long, lush finish. Aging potential of five to seven years.

Critical Acclaim

W&S 93
Wine & Spirits

Generous and velvety, this has pretty strawberry and red cherry flavors contoured by a mild, tarry bottom note. For all that richness of fruit the wine feels composed, light on its feet. Give it time to settle, then serve with duck.

RP 91
The Wine Advocate

While I still consider the widespread association in the Willamette of Jory soils with red fruits and WillaKenzie soils with darker berries (as opposed to considering ripeness, clone, and other factors more relevant to determining position on a red-black axis), the WillaKenzie 2010 Pinot Noir Pierre Leon and its Jory Hills Vineyard counterpart could easily be used to buttress received opinion. Blackberry and cassis dominate here, and the brown spices, resin and caramel from barrel are better integrated than was the case in that Jory bottling. Bright, juicy primary fruit; a seed-crunching tang yet against a polished background; and a savory, mouthwatering undertone of meat stock and roasted red meats come together for a complete, seamless, and sustained performance. This ought to perform admirably through at least 2018.

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WillaKenzie Estate

WillaKenzie Estate

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WillaKenzie Estate, , Oregon
WillaKenzie Estate
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.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles...

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from...

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

CWC981891_10_2010 Item# 122013

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