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Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2011

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • RP89
0% ABV
  • RP92
  • WE90
  • WS91
  • WW90
  • TP90
  • WE90
  • W&S93
  • W&S92
  • W&S92
  • BH91
  • WS90
  • WE89
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Winemaker Notes

This wine is both elegant and intense, exemplifying the "Oregon style." Alluring aromas of fresh red cherries, marionberries, herbs de provence, lavender and orange peel lead with notes of truffles, mint and black tea intertwined. On the palate, the wine is generous and full-bodied for the vintage. Flavors of ripe strawberries, game and wood spice are accented by an integrated oak profile. It is exceptionally balanced with lively acidity, silky tannins and a persistent finish. Appealing now but will further reward those who cellar this wine.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Representing as usual a high-volume blend drawing from most if not all of WVV’s vineyards, their 2011 Pinot Noir Estate delivers vintage-typically tart red currant surprisingly allied to an almost caressingly polished palate, with a buoyancy borne of under-12.5% alcohol and an intriguingly and delightfully saliva-inducing savor of veal stock emerging on a downright refreshing finish. This lovely Pinot will probably gain further interest over the next couple of years and serve well through at least 2016.
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Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards

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Willamette Valley Vineyards, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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A combination of determination and extraordinary people has brought Willamette Valley Vineyards from a bold idea to one of the region's leading wineries, earning the title "One of America's Great Pinot Noir Producers," from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

The “budwood” of Willamette Valley Vineyards began long before its founding in 1983 by vintner Jim Bernau. His Dad was hired by a California winemaker to secure the first winery license in Oregon since Prohibition. Jim’s Dad allowed him small tastes of Richard Sommer’s wine, lighting a path that led Jim from home winemaking to studies at UC Davis and eventually Beaune, France.

In 1983, Jim cleared away an old pioneer plum orchard in the Salem Hills and hand-watered his first plantings using 17 lengths of 75’ garden hose.

Jim's vision of organizing the support of wine enthusiasts to build a winery that would produce world-class wines through shared ownership has resulted in more than 16,000 owners. The winery's Common (WVVI) and Preferred (WVVIP) are traded on the NASDAQ. 

The winery sources all of its barrel-aged Pinot Noir from its estate vineyards and practices environmentally sustainable farming. All of the vineyards have been certified sustainable through LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon-Safe programs since 1997.


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 Mediterranean 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 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. Silty, loess soils are found in the Chehalem Mountains.

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.

PBC1591643_2011 Item# 127467