Last month, I put out a call for samples for my Second Annual Blind Tasting of American Pinot Noir. For last year’s Tasting, I received 31 wines, which made for a healthy representation of Pinot Noir from Oregon and California. This year, I expected to receive a similar number.
Thanks to the fine people at Willamette Valley Wine and Pinot in the City* as well as Jackson Family Wines, the response was close to overwhelming. In fact, I decided to split the tasting into two days since I received one hundred bottles of Pinot Noir (actually it was 166 bottles if you count the wineries that sent two bottles of each wine).
*Pinot in the City is a large tasting of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and it is coming to Houston in February! You can get tickets and more information HERE.
Since there were a hundred wines to taste through, I decided to break it up over two days. We had 52 on Saturday and the remaining 48 we cracked open on Sunday. The first sets of tasting notes can be found HERE.
2016 Apolloni Pinot Noir Estate Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $40. Good dark cherry fruit on the nose, with some earth and hints of spice. Right off the bat on Day 2, this is phenomenal. Great fruit, balance, acidity, lengthy finish. Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2015 Angela Pinot Noir Angela Vineyard Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton, OR: Retail $35. Darker and a bit fruitier on the nose a bit of vanilla and oak. A touch astringent on the palate, but this is another solid effort with dark cherry fruit, bright acidity, Yum. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2017 Chehalem Pinot Noir Corral Creek Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains, OR: Retail $50. More candied on the nose with lovely fruit and earth wow. Bright cherry. This is definitely in my wife’s wheelhouse who likes her Pinot on the fruity side. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2016 Cambria Pinot Noir Signature Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley, CA: Retail $80. Dark and brooding in the glass with more black fruit than red. With menthol and a bit of funk. Big and bold on the palate. This is a beefy one, but well done. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2016 Domaine Nicolas-Jay Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $65. The first bottle was a bit odd, so after the tasting, I popped the second that was decidedly better with good fruit, balance, and an admirable finish. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2017 Maison Roy & Fils Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills, OR: Retail $45. Funky with Brett on the nose, but I generally like the funk. The palate is quite nice with good fruit and acidity, quite different from the nose. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2018 Division Winemaking Company Pinot Noir Division-Villages, “Méthode Carbonique” Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $25. Fruity and a bit extracted on the nose. Decent fruit, and plenty of tannins, a perfectly fine Pinot that needs food. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2017 Domaine Roy & Fils Pinot Noir Estate Iron Filbert Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills, OR: Retail $120. Another case where I needed to open the second bottle, which was quite fruity, with plenty of secondary flavors. It could have used a bit more acid, however, but I nitpick. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2015 Coeur de Terre Pinot Noir The Heritage Reserve Willamette Valley, McMinnville, OR: Retail $40. Cola on the nose, pleasantly sweet. Big, tart cherry fruit. Fruity, fruity, fruity. Noticeable tannins on the backend, though, could benefit from some time. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2018 Westmount Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $25. Black cherry and vanilla on the nose. And a bit of minerality, the palate is quite tart and tannic. This is a lovely wine that will certainly get better with some age. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2017 Etude Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills, CA: Retail $50. More menthol and eucalyptus here (Sta Rita?). good fruit on the palate, but in a subdued way. This is particularly good. Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2017 Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir Jackson Estate Petaluma Gap, CA: Retail $40. Dark in the glass with red fruit, vanilla, cigarette smoke. A bit too one-dimensional on the palate, with good fruit and drying tannins, but lacking depth. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2017 Copain Pinot Noir Les Voisins Anderson Valley, CA: Retail $42. Solid Pinot nose of cherry, cranberry and a bit of earth. Quite tart cherry on the palate, with decent depth, some spice. Really tart though. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2017 Stoller Pinot Noir Reserve Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills, OR: Retail $50. Funky on the nose but good fruit and balance on the palate. Perfectly tasty, average finish. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2015 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Breaking Ground Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains, OR: Retail $45. Dark fruit and a bit of smoke. Quaffable, solid. I would love to find this in my glass at my wife’s work Christmas party, but I am sure I won’t. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2017 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $32. Dark red fruit, a bit of menthol, some earth. The palate, again, is perfectly fine with good balance, ample fruit, some discernable tannin. Nice. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
La Crema is my favorite, but not from the Willamette. Thanks for this. And Merry Christmas!