This weekend is Memorial Weekend in the Wine Country in the Willamette Valley. As pretty much one of the biggest deals in the wine event calendar in Oregon from a consumer perspective, it presents an opportunity to visit wineries normally closed to the public and taste wines just being released for the year. Today we got to taste one of those very wines, straight off of the labeling line and a day before being released to the public!
Jill, a soon to be contributor to The Oregon Wine Blog from Spokane, and I were traipsing around Oregon wine country trying to beat the crowds today when we happened upon one of our favorites, Willamette Valley Vineyards. After a brief Twitter-machine rendezvous, Christine, the face behind WVV's social media presence, met us in the tasting room with a huge smile on her face and a bottle in her hand. Exclusively for The Oregon Wine Blog, she had finagled a bottle of the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir literally off of the labeling line for us to take home to review. You see, tomorrow has been the much anticipated release of this fabulous wine, however, the labels didn't arrive to the winery until yesterday. Talk about cutting it close!
Why the delay on the label, you ask? Glad you asked and I'm happy to tell you. WVV has been working on a label redesign for all of their future single vineyard designate and Signature Cuvee wines -- a label that is crisp, clean, elegant, and beautifully describes the wine it encapsulates. The '08 Estate is the first to be graced with the new label so keep your eyes open for it at your local wine shop in the future. On to the wine.
Wanting to get this review out for your consuming needs this Memorial Day Weekend, we popped the bottle open after a delicious dinner of steak, halibut, and Oregon vegetable bounty. Immediately on the nose we noted a nice spice with relatively balanced notes of earthiness and fruit. The nose didn't scream "classic Oregon Pinot" but it did scream "delicious." We didn't have to wait long to find out.
On the palate we found quite a bit of tart fruit with hints of pomegranate, cranberry, and cherry backed with some subtle tobacco. We found this to be a "very very good" pinot that could perhaps benefit from a little more time in the bottle before reaching it's peak. It is bold enough to stand on it's own without a food pairing, but would go great with dinner as well. It is among the first of the 2008's we've tasted and based on this example, 2008 is showing to be an excellent year for Oregon Pinot. Definitely one to grab while they have it, as the Estate doesn't always last long on the shelves.
Thanks as always to Christine and the good folks at Willamette Valley Vineyards, and if you are looking for a great place to spend your Memorial Day, their tasting room is the place to do it. Oh, and awesome job on the new label!