2005 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir (Estate Grown)

Should wines be given a second chance?

I pondered this as I sit here after having given a wine a second chance, something that had I thought about it earlier in the week would not have happened. The wine this evening I am talking about is the 2005 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards. Let me make it clear - I love Willamette Valley Vineyards, and since my time in Oregon, most of my wines have come from there. As a member of the wine guild, I do feel a certain amount of loyalty to them, but, I was quite taken aback when I opened this bottle of wine on Thursday and took a sip.

My most recent post talked about red wines, wines that I didn't like as much, and my writing more about those. I got a response from a friend of the Oregon Wine Blog, the Beer Blog, commenting that we might be less prone to write about wine we dislike for numerous reasons. All the same, I was certain that this Pinot Noir would be the first on that list, but not completely.

I first opened this bottle of wine on Thursday. I let it sit open for about 15-20 minutes while I decompressed from the day. I poured a bit into the glass and was immediately struck by the color. It was a very distinct cranberry-grape color, which I liked. I took the nose on it to really be able to bring about the oak, or something wood (I am not sure what kind of apparatus it is aged in) with some some of the spices. I swirled the wine and noticed the nice coat it gave my glass. Then came the sip...I found my first glass of this wine to be very harsh, very strong, and reminiscent of why it is I am less prone to reds over whites. The aftertaste was lasting and it was almost as though I had taken some cold medicine. I thought it might have been my first sip of something that I did wrong. After pouring more into my glass, I would realize this was not the case. I continued to drink my glass of wine, "You never leave a man behind" is a favorite saying of someone here on the Oregon Wine Blog when referring to glasses of wine. I drank about 3/4 of my glass before I decided I was done with this wine for the evening.

That brings us to today. I think it completely okay to start the week off with a glass of wine or two in my apartment, as long as I am responsible. I decided, almost reluctantly, to give the Tualatin another chance, despite having a white wine chilled (I will write about that one later). I recently purchased a vacuum sealer for wines - it is not responsible of me to put away a whole bottle of wine every time I open one - and used it for the first time when I closed this bottle on Thursday. I opened the seal and poured my glass of wine. The color and coat were the same. The nose seemed to bring out more of a cinnamon scent with the wood, and then I took the plunge.

With a little trepidation, I took the sip and was relieved. The flavor and richness that was on my palate this evening was what I remembered this wine tasting like when I first tried it before. The flavor is one that still lingers, but it is no where near as strong as it was on Thursday. There is just a lite tingle that you feel at the back of the cheeks. While hard to describe, I like the spices that I taste with this wine. And while we sometimes talk about what we are eating or would eat while drinking our wines, I am going to be a little less conventional this evening. As I drink my Pinot Noir, I think that it would go well with some chocolate brownies. The sweet sugar of the brownies would be a good offset with the subtle and after-swallow lite tartness of this Pinot Noir.

I was very happy that I decided to give this wine a second chance, and would encourage others to continue to try old wines, even those that might not have made a good first impression. While I am not saying this is my favorite Pinot Noir, that will come later, I would rank this one in my top 5...for now :-)


Norm Schoen said...

I worked in the tasting room at Tualatin Estates for 3 seasons and have tasted vintages from 1998-2005. The 2005 is very nice. If you can find it, the 2003 is worth buying and I think that short term cellaring would be rewarded. The 2003 was a monster Pinot from a hot vintage. The wine originally was kinda like Pamela Anderson-big, full bodied,showy and attractive (in a bad girl kind of way). The wine has evolved into more of a Kathleen Turner-)still sexy, but with a little more class).