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Zena Crown Vineyard Slope Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WW94
  • WS93
12.7% ABV
  • RP93
  • WS92
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12.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

At the Slope, the Zena Crown Vineyard shifts to face due south, encouraging perfect ripeness and maximum phenolic development. The Slope is a dark, brooding Pinot Noir of great density despite a modest 12.7% alcohol. Its flavor spectrum is similarly deep and concentrated, where the fragrant, easy air of spring surrenders to more complicated notes of warm leather, dried mushrooms, Maillard reactions, game, and umami.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 94
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
The search for the Holy Grail—aka in wine terms as hunting for the world's finest Pinot Noir. Many point to Romanée-Conti as the very finest parcel in the world. In the new world, the jury is still out. But with each passing vintage, the focus becomes clearer, and Zena Crown Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills is a name that is popping up with greater regularity as one the finest new world plots for Pinot Noir. The 2013 Zena Crown Pinot Noir Slope looks like the crown jewel. The winery states, "At the Slope, the Zena Crown Vineyard shifts to face due south, encouraging perfect ripeness and maximum phenolic development." This great wine shows warm spices, ripe fruit, sweet-savory, and dried strawberries. The wine's long and luxurious finish places this wine at the top of the class. Needs time to soften. (Tasted: August 26, 2016, San Francisco, CA)
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Rich and expressive, featuring black cherry and pepper notes set against tangy mineral flavors. Comes together smoothly as the finish gains traction, with a light bite of tannins. Drink now through 2023. 348 cases made.
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Zena Crown Vineyard

Zena Crown Vineyard

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Zena Crown Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Video of winery
Jackson Family Wines purchased the Zena Crown Vineyard just west of Salem in 2013, marking their first foray into Oregon. With cautious optimism, the desire to remain a harmonious neighbor, and the patience to watch this vineyard’s story slowly unfold, they engaged veteran Willamette Valley winemaker Tony Rynders and passionate Pacific Northwest native Shane Moore to bring Zena Crown Vineyard to life.

Since its third leaf, Zena Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir has been subject to multiple interpretations; it became a sought-after single-vineyard designate for top producers like Beaux Freres, Soter, and Penner-Ash. With the 2013 harvest, however, Zena Crown emerged as a true Oregon domaine. As they adapt to its rhythms and natural oscillations, they seek to explore and manifest the singular voice of this special plot of land, in accordance with the remote and rugged beauty of the Eola-Amity Hills.

Eola-Amity Hills

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Running north to south, adjacent to the Willamette River, the Eola-Amity Hills AVA has shallow and well-drained soils created from ancient lava flows (called Jory), marine sediments, rocks and alluvial deposits. These soils force vine roots to dig deep, producing small grapes with great concentration. Like in the McMinnville sub-AVA, cold Pacific air streams in via the VanDuzer corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidities in its grapes. This great concentration, combined with marked acidity, give the Eola-Amity Hills wines—namely Pinot noir—their distinct character. While the region covers 40,000 acres, no more than 1,400 acres are covered in vine.

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.

RGL50013265SX_2013 Item# 157113