The Hedonistic Taster: Notable Oregon Wines

Domaine Nicolas Jay premium Pinot Noir is made in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

The Hedonistic Taster

 Notable Oregon Wines

LM Archer is a fine wine, food and travel writer specializing in Bourgogne, bubbles and the business of wine.

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne + Champagne Master Level

 

Some notable Oregon wines from a few premium boutique wineries.

Disclaimer: No compensation is received; all opinions expressed are that of the author.

 

Domaine Nicolas-Jay

Domaine Nicolas-Jay Affinités Chardonnay is produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

TASTING NOTES:

A collaboration between Burgundy vigneron Nicolas-Jay Méo-Camuzet of Domaine Méo-Camuzet in famed Vosne-Romanée, and music impresario Jay Boberg.

The Oregon project includes talented assistant winemaker Tracy Kendall.

Wine:  Nicolas-Jay Affinités Chardonnay – Willamette Valley

Vintage:  2018

Alcohol:  13.5 %

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 40/ 120 cases produced.

Robe: Light gold robe.

Nose: Lemon rind, tangy yogurt, nose.

Palate:  Light body, exquisite structure. Lemon zest attack, quince and yellow apple mid-palate, elegant, refined finish. Grace Kelly in a glass. 

Nicolas Jay Pinot Noir is made in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine:  Nicolas-Jay Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  13.5%

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 55

Robe: Brilliant ruby robe.

Nose: Intoxicating spice, sous bois, floral (violets, dried rose petal) aromas. 

Palate:  Wait – this ISN”T a Bourgogne Côte d’Or grand vin?  Light body, deft structure, refined tannins. Raspberry attack, spice notes mid-palate, red fruit finish. Sublime.

More about Domaine Nicolas-Jay  here.

 

Open Claim Vineyards

Open Claim Vineyard makes premium pinot noir and chardonnay wines in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

TASTING NOTES:

Named for an 1850 land claim, proprietors Marnie and Brett Wall planted Open Claim Vineyards in 2012. Located in Willamette Valley’s pending Mt. Pisgah appellation, the winery specializes in ‘benchmark’ pinot noir and chardonnay wines crafted by esteemed winemaker Tony Rynders.

Wine:  Open Claims Vineyards Chardonnay –  Willamette Valley

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  13.5%

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 75/ 80 cases produced.

Robe: Burnished gold robe.

Nose: Lemon curd, golden apple, savory yellow herbs, toasty oak, and saline aromas.

Palate:  Medium body, acid-plus, soft tannins. Zesty lemon attack, gala apple and bosc pear mid-palate, lingering saline finish. A complex wine worth the effort.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine:  Open Claim Vineyards Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  13.9%

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 75/ 60 cases produced.

Robe: Dark ruby robe.

Nose: Blue fruit, evergreen and basalt nose.

Palate:  Light-medium body. Finely balanced acids and tannins. Blue fruit and basalt nose carry through to the palate on the attack. Dark red fruit on the mid-palate, with a dusty red fruit finish. Solid.

More about Open Claim Vineyards  here.

 

Megan Anne Cellars

Megan Anne Cellars, part of Mark Ryan Winery, produces premium pinot noir in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

TASTING NOTES:

Megan Anne Cellars marks a collaboration between Mark & Megan McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery, and former Evening Land winemaker Isabelle Meunier.

Launched in 2016, Megan Anne Cellars offers a ‘softer, more feminine side’ of this iconic winery.

Wine: Megan Anne Cellars  Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Vintage:  2018

Alcohol:  14.5 %

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 30

Robe: Deep ruby robe. 

Nose: Ripe, dark red and black fruit aromas on the nose, with a slight cocoa back note. 

Palate:  This cuvée from Nysa, Freedom Hill, Wilson Fjord, and Justice Vineyards combines the best of these prestigious sites into one harmonious blend. Medium bodied, plush balance. Bramble berry and dark plum attack, cocoa on the mid-palate, with a satisfying dark cherry finish. High quality-to-value wine.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Megan Anne Cellars Justice Vineyard Pinot Noir – Eola Amity Hills 

Vintage:  2018

Alcohol:  14.0 %

Link to Producer Specs here.  

Suggested Retail: $ 45 / 120 cases produced.

Robe:  Inky garnet robe.

Nose: Smokey red fruit, peony, plum, evergreen nose.

Palate:  Light body, plush tannins, dark cherry finish.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Megan Anne Cellars  Freedom Hill Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley 

Vintage:  2018

Alcohol:  14.2 %

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 45 /120 cases produced.

Robe: Crimson-rimmed,  dark purple robe.

Nose: Savory dark plum, mineral, blue fruit, dark cherry nose.

Palate:  Medium-heavy body, Solid structure and balance. Dark plum attack, rich chocolate mid-palate, spice and blueberry finish. 

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Megan Anne Cellars  Nysa Vineyard Pinot Noir – Dundee Hills AVA

Vintage:  2018

Alcohol:  14.5 %

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 45 / 120 cases produced.

Robe: Deep ruby-purple robe.

Nose: A heady concoction of Dundee spice and brooding dark fruit aromas.

Palate:  Medium-to-heavy bodied, solid structure, plenty of well-integrated tannins make this an age-worthy wine. Interesting mélange of dark plum and cherry on the attack adds a hint of cocoa and French-roast coffee mid-palate before folding into a sumptuous finish. 

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Megan Anne Cellars Pinot Noir ‘Black Love’ – Willamette Valley

Vintage:  2018

Alcohol:  14.5 %

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 60 / 225 cases produced.

Robe: Dark garnet robe.

Nose: Intoxicating, rose, peony, violet, red-blue fruit aromas.

Palate:  Light-medium body, supple tannins, well-balanced. Cocoa and red currant attack melds into blueberry and plum mid-palate, with a velvety blackberry finish. A lush, nuanced pour.

More about Megan Anne Cellars here.

 

Bells Up Winery

Bells Up Winery is a microboutique winery specializing in small lot wines, including Seyval Blanc.

TASTING NOTES:

Dave and Sara Specter founded micro-boutique Bells Up Winery on Chehalem Mountain in 2013. Former mid-western professionals, their winery name nods to Dave’s previous french-horn playing days.

Bells Up Winery’s estate vineyard also features the Willamette Valley’s first planting of cold-climate hybrid varietal Seyval blanc.

Wine: Bells Up Winery ‘Helios’ Estate Seyval Blanc – Chehalem Mountains AVA

Vintage:  2019

Alcohol:  12.9 %

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 28 / 43 cases produced.

Robe: Clear lemon robe.

Nose: Yellow fruit, spiced golden apple, slightly foxy back note.

Palate:  ‘Helios’ the wine honors the namesake musical poem by Carl NielsenLight body, pristine acids, lovely texture from six months of lees contact. Fennel, green apple, and lemon zest attack, golden apple mid-palate, savory finish. This sunny expression of an unheralded hybrid favors versatile food pairings. 

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Bells Up Winery ‘Rhapsody Pinot Blanc – Willamette Valley AVA

Vintage:  2019

Alcohol:  12.4 %

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 28 / 51 cases produced.

Robe: Pale gold robe.

Nose: Pear and white floral aromas predominate.

Palate:  Light body, bright acids. Sur lie aging imbues an interesting texture. Citrus attack, pear and white fruit mid-palate, Golden Delicious and white floral finish. A masterful rhapsody of flavors and aromas.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Bells Up Winery ‘Prelude’ Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir – Chehalem Mountains AVA

Vintage:  2019

Alcohol:  12.7 %

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 22 / 99 cases produced.

Robe: Clear, red cherry colored hue.

Nose: Cherry and sous bois aromas.

Palate:  Medium body, harmonious balance between acids and tannins.  Like Liszt’s “Prelude,” this wine shape-shifts from attack to finish, hitting varying cherry notes throughout.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Bells Up Winery ‘Titan’ Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  13.5 %

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 40 / 129 cases produced.

Robe:  Clear purple-ruby robe.

Nose: Red  (pomegranate, currant) and blue fruit, floral (rose) aromas.

Palate:  Light body, well structured and balanced. Red cherry attack, sous bois mid-palate,  supple, red raspberry finish. Like Mahler’s “Titan,” this vinous version lilts,  pirouettes and bows with grace upon the palate.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Bells Up Winery Reserve ‘Candide’ Pinot Noir – Nemarniki Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains 

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  13.1 %

Link to Producer Specs here

Suggested Retail: $ 54 / 74 cases produced.

Robe: Brilliant ruby robe. 

Nose: Red fruit (raspberry, cherry), bramble back note.

Palate:  Light body, artful acids and supple tannins. A subtle cherry attack builds to a nervy red currant and red berry crescendo on the finish finish. Bravo!

TASTING NOTES:

Wine: Bells Up Winery ‘Villanelle’ Reserve Pinot Noir – Tonnelier Vineyard, Yamhill Carlton AVA

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  13.7  %

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 54 / 52 cases. (Fanfare Club Exclusive.)

Robe: Pellucid ruby robe.

Nose: Enticing Rainier cherry and aromatic sous bois aromas.

Palate: Wow. Cue the French Horns.  One virtuoso vinous performance.  Light body, finely balanced acids and tannins. Bright red fruit attack, exotic orange peel mid-palate, elegant red raspberry finish. Mama like. A lot.

More about Bells Up Winery here.

 

Abacela

Abacela Albarino is fermented in stainless tanks, with no oak.

TASTING NOTES:

Trained scientists Earl and Hilda Jones founded Abacela in 1995 with one quest in mind: crafting world-class Tempranillo in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley. Today, the winery crafts over 15 different Iberian and Old World varieties.

Wine:  Abacela Albariño – Umpqua Valley

Vintage:  2019

Alcohol:  13.2%

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 21

Robe: Clear lemon robe.

Nose: Tropical fruit, yellow fruit, lime blossom, yellow dried floral aromas.

Palate:  Light body, acid-plus. Tart lemon-lime zest attack, golden fruit (apple/pear) mid-palate; lime zest and lime flower finish. Tart, tart, tart.

Abacella Tempranillo Fiesta ages 16 mos. in mostly used American oak barrels.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine:  Abacela Tempranillo Fiesta – Umpqua Valley 

Vintage:  2017

Alcohol:  14.2%

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 25

Robe: Deep plum robe.

Nose: Dark fruit, plum, vanilla aromas.

Palate:  Medium body, acid-plus, smooth tannins. Red apple attack, coffee mid-palate, plum finish. 

Abacela 2015 South Face Syrah ages 22 mos. in 30% new oak.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine:  Abacela South Face Reserve Syrah – Umpqua Valley

Vintage:  2015

Alcohol:  14.4%

Link to Producer Specs here. 

Suggested Retail: $ 34

Robe: Deep purple-ruby robe.

Nose: Gamey, black pepper and dark red fruit nose.

Palate:  Light-to-medium palate, well-balanced, silky finish. Dark berry attack, plum mid-palate, cocoa finish.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine:  Abacela Tempranillo South East Block Reserve – Umpqua Valley

Vintage:  2015

Alcohol:  14.6% 

Suggested Retail: $ 49

Robe: Dark purple robe.

Nose: Raisin, leather, tobacco, coffee, stewed dark fruit nose.

Palate:  Medium body, well-integrated tannins, finely balanced. Dark plum attack, cocoa mid-palate, leather and dark berry finish.

TASTING NOTES:

Wine:  Abacela Tinta Amarela (aka Trincadeira Pretap) – Umpqua Valley

Vintage:  2016

Alcohol:  14.4%

Suggested Retail: $ 30

Robe: Deep plum robe with ruby robe.

Nose: Dark red currant and black plum nose.

Palate:  Light body, acid-plus.  Red apple, tobacco, leather, and game on the palate, with a mild finish. Finesse in a glass.

More about Abacela  here.

 

Have a favorite Oregon wine? Feel free to leave your comments below.

 

More The Hedonistic Taster here.

 

Copyrighted ©2020 LM Archer. All Rights Reserved.

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