Oregon Pinot Noir Stirs a Bidding Frenzy

Willamette: Pinot Noir Auction 2021 offered a hybrid event, both online and in person.

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Oregon Pinot Noir Stirs a Bidding Frenzy

A recent auction had professional wine buyers frantically outbidding one another

Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction 2021, a hybrid event this year, also featured chardonnay lots.

by L.M. Archer

Blue skies, warm weather, and stunning Willamette Valley hillside views proved a welcome backdrop to the sixth annual Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction held in early August at the WillaKenzie Estate.

After an in-person, walk-around preview and seated luncheon, Hawaiian-shirted auctioneer, Fritz Hatton, gaveled the 2021 event open.

On cue, trade members rushed to outbid one another for 85 one-of-a-kind Pinot Noirs, and seven Chardonnay lots that showcased the 2019 vintage. Nearby, eager volunteers strained to track bobbing paddles and virtual ClickBid offers, while winemakers, in their finest fleece, looked on like proud parents at their children’s dance recital.

The hybrid auction followed an online preview week held in late July for the wine trade, who could bid for barrels produced in 2019 by 89 participating winemakers from across Oregon’s AVAs. The winning bidders will, in their turn, sell the wines to their customers.

2019: classic in the making

Though lauded by winemakers as an extraordinary vintage, 2019 still proved challenging. “The conditions during ripening have a tremendous influence over the ultimate profile of the wines,” said winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick from Alloro Vineyard. “That’s what happened in 2019, which were cooler, damper conditions in the early part of the month of September.”

Shifting weather patterns left wineries scrambling to adjust, as early September’s wet, cool climate turned warm and dry later in the month. “It was a great exercise in how to develop your plan and throw it out on the last day,” added Jessica Mozeico of Et Fille. “To me, one of the things that stands out about the 2019 vintage is just the extraordinary balance and bright, fresh acidity of these wines.”

Ultimately, the 2019 vintage yielded wines of stunning elegance, combining subtle, cooler-vintage aromas and flavors with warmer-vintage fullness and concentration. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE.

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