News items from the home of Pinot NOW and from the wider world of Pinot.
Also, links to articles we find interesting and informative. We hope that they might appeal to you too.
Wine Spectator's Tim Smith - Oregon's recent vintages
Posted June 2020 - Words by Tim Smith, Wine Spectator.
• Vintage 2017: Oregon is in the midst of an unprecedented series of outstanding vintages—2012 through 2017—and Pinot Noir drinkers are counting their blessings. Not only have the growing seasons cooperated, but the state’s epicenter of quality, Willamette Valley, has become a hotbed of new ideas and projects. You can feel the dynamism in the air and taste it in the glass. 2017 vintage earning an overall rating of 94 points on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale. - March 31, 2020.
• Vintage 2016: Oregon is the most dynamic wine region in the United States right now. This is evident in Willamette Valley, the state's breadbasket of Pinot Noir, in particular, where new producers and vineyards are invigorating the scene and veteran winemakers are upping their game. The sense of discovery and opportunity has the region buzzing. The 2016 Pinots are the main attraction, and overall I rate the (2016) vintage a classic 97 points on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale. – March 31, 2019.
• Vintage 2015: The Willamette Valley is Oregon's hotbed of Pinot Noir. The region is making some of its most impressive wines ever, and there's heightened excitement and energy thanks to a wave of new players on the scene. A string of outstanding vintages from 2014 through 2016 has further intensified the buzz. Uncharacteristically for Oregon, Mother Nature has cooperated three years in a row, with storms and cool conditions holding off until after harvest time. Overall, I give the (2015) vintage a 95-point rating for Willamette Valley on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale. – March 31, 2018.
Decanter Magazine - Article
Posted April 2019 - Words by John Stimpfig, August 28, 2018 edition.
Cristom Vineyards: Top Oregon Pinot
"Now just over 25 years old, Cristom has blossomed into one of Oregon's top names. Famous for its Pinot Noir, it also grows Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Syrah on 25ha of vineyard which surround the winery, producing around 18,000 12-bottle cases per vintage
Situated roughly 10 miles north of Salem and a similar distance west of Dundee, the estate lies between the Pacific coast (43 miles to the west) and the Cascade Mountains (65 miles to the east). Cool afternoon breezes blow in from the Pacific, following the Van Duzer Corridor - a break in the coastal range - to provide a cooling effect on the vines after warm summer days, locking in the acidity in the grapes.
Cristom was founded by Paul and Eileen Gerrie in 1992 and is now run by their son Tom Gerrie, who also took over as vineyard manager last year following the departure of long-serving Mark Feltz. Tom Gerrie also oversees production alongside winemaker Steve Doerner, who has been at Cristom since its inception. Doerner originally came to Cristom having worked under Josh Jensen at Calera. Since then he has refined the Cristom minimalist winemaking approach - which is summarized by the phrase 'more about the land than the hand'. The vineyards are planted at a density of 5,600 vines per hectare and the estate has recently converted to biodynamic farming methods; a move driven forward by Tom Gerrie, according to a spokesperson for the property.
In the winery, Doerner's Pinot Noir techniques include the use of whole-cluster fruit - generally, the Mount Jefferson Pinot Noir has around 40% whole-cluster fruit, while the single vineyard Pinots have around 50% - cold soak maceration open-top fermenters, native yeasts, gentle pressing, and gravity-fed transfer of the wines into barrel. Its Pinots are all aged in a variety of Burgundian oak barrels sourced from a wine range of coopers.
Tasting the Pinots:
Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 - Named after the mother of owner Tom Gerrie, the Eileen vineyard compromising 6.67ha has a higher elevation at up to 230 meters in the Eola-Amity Hills. It shows good freshness and lots of cool fruit-focussed clarity. It's deliciously delicate, with persistent raspberry fruit, spice and sweetness that dominates the luminous palate, but there's no lack of structure here with good flesh and firmness to the tannin profile. This is still very primary and will age well. 95 points.
Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015- According to Cristom's Randy Ford, the 3.7ha Louise vineyard is first and last to have its grapes picked, depending on the vines' altitude and position on the lower or upper bench. The difference in picking date could be as much as five weeks. Biodynamically farmed and aged in 50% new oak, the Loise Pinot has Cristom's hallmark floral, pot pourri character on the nose and palate. Gorgeously refined red and black fruits combine with a dash of Asian spice notes to give a linear, medium-bodied red with some tannic heft and spine-tingling acidity. Stunningly good. 94 points.
Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015- This comes from a steep 3.84ha vineyard on thin volcanic soils and spends 15 months in new and usedf oak barrels. Bold, bright and intense, this exhibits wild strawberry, cola and spice notes with a perfumed floral embellishment. It has superb tension, balance and elegance thanks to refined tannins and fresh acidity. Expressive and long. 93 points."
Pinot Now has secured a small allocation of each of these wines, please click on each link to view further information.
Gourmet Traveller Wine - Article
Posted March 2019
The Feb/Mar 2019 Edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine features an article entitled 'Peak Perfection', an article devoted to Oregon Wine Country. We are very pleased and more than a tad excited to see some of the wineries we have been working with for many years featured. Cristom Vineyards,The Eyrie Vineyards and Stoller Family Estate.
The Oregon wine scene and Willamette Valley in particular has beguiled us for more than two decades, discovering Oregon Pinot noir during a visit to the States back in 1997. It was directly after this trip that we wondered why none of these strikingly different and beautiful wines were available in Australia, and the crazy idea to simply import them ourselves was formulated into reality three years later. Today we have fourteen Oregon pinot producers in our portfolio, each with their own unique story to tell. Most are small operations, all are extremely proud of their history and craftmanship, which is evident in the glass.
Grab a copy of the Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine to read what Natasha Hughes MW has to say about these stalwarts of the Oregon wine scene. Or read the online article here
We think so, in fact, Pinot Now has been working with Luv-a-Duck for more than four years. Luv-a-Duck run regular hands on cooking classes out of their showroom in Port Melbourne. At the end of the cook, the participants sit down to their duck based creations, and sip on four well matched pinot noirs from around the world, with expert commentary from the pinot man himself - Steven Naughton. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, or weeknight evening!
If the thought of spending four hours with like-minded people, mastering the challenges of cooking duck, and tasting and learning about delicious pinot noir from around the world appeals, for more details and to make a booking, contact Luv-a-Duck.com.au.
Pinot NOW at MFWF
Posted April 2018
Pinot NOW was delighted to be invited to participate in the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival last month.
The event, Victoria and the World Tasting Room, held on March 24th was a huge success. The two sessions sold out long before the date rolled around.
A large selection of Victorian wine and artisan cheeses were pitted against a strong US contingent of similar cheese and wines. The idea was to stroll around the dozen or so cheese stands, sampling along the way and learning all about cheese styles and production from the local and overseas makers and producers present. There were also at least a dozen wineries from Victoria and USA represented, with many winemakers on site to provide insight into their wine styles and production.
We found many of the public were not familiar with American wine, and were eager to taste and learn. We also met others who knew of our wines and enjoyed tasting with us and hearing of the stories behind the wines and the winemakers.
The result was a great education in the similarities and differences between the styles of the two countries in the production of wine and cheese.
Posted February 2017Published February 9th, 2017 Authored by Frank Wilden
"In the year 2000, Steve Naughton founded Pinot Now, dedicating his enterprise to bringing you the best pinots he could get his hands on. The great wines of Burgundy were already mostly spoken for (at very high prices) so his initial focus was on North America. He has since expanded to great pinots from France, New Zealand and Australia. The Pinot Now label on the back of a bottle can improve your odds when playing the chancy and expensive game of pinot roulette."
The difference in how the 2016 vintage is perceived in the Pacific Northwest depends on whether you grow Cabernet, as many do in Washington, or Pinot Noir, the signature grape of Oregon. The temperature tale of 2016 is very similar in both places. On June 1, Oregon's Willamette Valley looked like it was headed for its hottest year on record, right on the heels of its two prior hottest years. The "degree days," a measure of heat accumulation, were 27 percent higher than in 2015. Everyone was bracing for Pinot Noir that tastes like grape jam. But then, Mother Nature backed off.
Good news for fans of more-traditional Oregon Pinot Noir is that not all degree days are equal. Because 2016 was warm early and cooler late, alcohol levels should not reach the 15 percent mark that many wineries hit last year.
"(2016 is) the earliest ever, for all of the parameters, for bud break, bloom, harvest. We began earlier than we've ever done before," Chehalem founder Harry Peterson-Nedry told Wine-Searcher. Read the Article here
PODCAST: Second generation leads Oregon’s Elk Cove Vineyards
As a kid, Adam Campbell thought his parents’ friends were kind of crazy. Campbell’s parents, Joe and Pat, moved from the Hood River area to Gaston in 1974 to plant wine grapes and quickly became friends with folks like David Lett, Dick Ponzi, Dick Erath and David Adelsheim.
“They’d get together and drink wines from around the world, get inspired, passionately debate and talk about how to make this thing happen in Oregon,” Campbell recalled. “My brothers and sisters and I would sometimes get tired of our parents talking about Pinot Noir all the time.”
Yet those conversations and his parents’ work ethic impressed upon Campbell that he should follow in their footsteps, first as a grape grower and finally as a winemaker. For the past two decades, Campbell has helped run Elk Cove Vineyards, the winery his parents started early in the history of the modern Oregon wine industry.
Andy Perdue recently caught up with Campbell and sat down to talk about Elk Cove and the philosophy he brings to viticulture and winemaking. Here’s the interview
Merriam-Webster defines “pioneer” as 1: a person who is one of the first to settle in an area, and 2: a person who begins or helps develop something new and prepares the way for others to follow. This definition fits David Adelsheim, co-founder of Adelsheim Winery, to a T.
In 1971, when just a few hardy farmers where trying to figure out what grapes to grow in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Ginny and David Adelsheim looked out over an open field of orange and purple wildflowers and dreamed of one day planting a vineyard in the area.
Cost: $95 per person, includes Champagne tasting, light food and matched desserts.
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Oregon Pinot Now!
Posted May 2016Published in The Real Review, Wine News - April 28, 2016 by Huon Hooke
Steve Naughton runs an importing company called Pinot Now which specialises in American Wines. He recently hosted a group of visiting winemakers from Oregon, including Dave Paige from Adelsheim, Harry Peterson-Nedry from Chehalem and Melissa Burr (pictured) from Stoller Family Estate. Apart from their own wines, there were many others including Rex Hill, Evesham Wood, Ponzi, A to Z Wineworks, Cristom and Elk Cove. I was impressed and more than a little surprised by how good the wines were - and I don't mean that in a condescending way.
I recently tasted the new releases from Champagne Brimoncourt, a small house founded as recently as 2008. These are particularly vinous Champagnes, crafted to deliver perfume, purity, texture and minerality. They’re made and packaged in a very contemporary style, but one that is entirely respectful of the history of Champagne. I count myself as a convert – these reflect the style and translucency of many of the white wines I enjoy, and each reveals surprising layers of depth and complexity.
Thanks to a fearless band of visionary winemakers, the state of Oregon, in America’s northwest, now produces ethereal, savoury pinot noir of world-class quality. Notoriously one of the world’s most fickle varieties, winemakers persevere with pinot noir because when made well and to critical acclaim, it’s the equivalent of graduating from the Secret School of Talented Winemakers. But in order to give themselves the best possible chance of making pinot noir well, winemakers need to position themselves in a place where it sings rather than sulks.