Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The "Weekend Before" in the Willamette Valley - Westrey

We actually went to Westrey last and, though I was supposed to report on Ayres next, there are no photos from there, so I thought I'd post about another "anti-showplace" since there are nice pics to demonstrate that a multi-million dollar facility isn't a requirement for making good wine.

Sometimes my mouth gets me in trouble. I had stopped by this palatial facility in the McMinnville "wine ghetto" (note the cell tower in the background) back in September in the hopes they'd be there so I could pick up a couple of bottles and, in the midst of the day's chaos of bottling I opened my mouth and the wrong thing came out. Nothing new there, but this one's gonna hurt me in the wallet.

What did I say? After David had dipped a glass into the tank of 2008 Justice vineyard pinot noir they were bottling and offered it to me, I told him that he needed to charge more for that wine and the Oracle bottling as well. What was I thinking? I must have figured the words would go in one ear and out the other in the confusion, especially since he and Amy have always felt very strongly about pricing their wines fairly.

I was wrong. He listened and the prices on those two wines are up, though they still fall into the "more than reasonable" category and the rest of the lineup is unchanged. Well, the prices are unchanged. The quality of the wines continues on its steady upward spiral.

The wines?

2008 WV pinot gris - This wine just gets better every year. At one point it tended to have a bit of an aldehyde problem and be a little too nervy. These days it's loaded with peach fruit and it's round and delicious.

2008 WV chardonnay - A worthy follow-up to the 2007, which I loved. Resembles a junior Puligny in flavor profile with apple-pear fruit balanced by subtle oaky/doughy notes. Rounder than the 2007 yet it has the bracing acidity the 2006 was lacking.

2007 chardonnay reserve - Though it saw less new oak than the 2008 WV, the oak stands out more. I suspect I'll like this wine in a couple of years but right now it doesn't float my boat.

2008 WV pinot noir - Too delicious for words. Lots of bing cherry fruit and some spice from the oak, which was about 25% new.

2008 Justice pinot noir - I can't decide which I like better, this or the Oracle. Eenie, meenie . . . just pick one. The Justice is a bit more black-fruited than its sibling, owing in part to the clones in the vineyard and part to its location in the Eola-Amity AVA, adjacent to (and managed by) Bethel Heights.

2008 Oracle pinot noir - As before, this is simply quintessential Dundee Hills pinot noir. Lots of red fruit, though it doesn't show the strawberry that many wines from that area show. More like raspberries and perhaps red currants. Lots of floral notes on the nose. The best news is that there are almost 600 cases of it!

2007 Reserve pinot noir - For whatever reason, this wine - though excellent - just kind of escapes me. It always has. It's a blend of four vineyards and its personality seems muddled to me. If I had to guess I'd say it's the Abbey Ridge fruit which, being very distinctive, sort of fights with the rest of the components.

2007 Abbey Ridge pinot noir - I love this vineyard and what it produces. Strawberry-raspberry fruit with violets and lavender on the nose. A hint of earth/forest floor and pepper. I can't wait to try the 2008, but this is nothing to turn your nose up over.

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