jamie goode's wine blog: Oregon, the final day, and a mention of the 1978 Amity

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oregon, the final day, and a mention of the 1978 Amity

Two visits this morning, before I headed to the airport. The first was at Bergstrom wines, with the impressive Josh Bergstrom who is working his own vineyards biodynamically. I was especially impressed with his Riesling, which is wittily named 'Dr Bergstrom' - all precise, linear and minerally with a touch of residual sugar. Then I drove over to Rex Hill/A to Z wineworks, which is a relatively new operation in its current form, making seriously impressive commercial wines under the A to Z label and more serious wines under the revitalized Rex Hill label, including some profound single vineyard Pinots.

I didn't want to let pass mention of one of the wines last night. Myron very kindly brought along a bottle of the 1978 Winemaker's Reserve Pinot Noir from his vineyard, Amity. This piece of living history was very much alive; indeed, it was drinking almost perfectly. A profound, mature Pinot with elegance, some flesh, showing bit of evolution but not tasting at all over-the-hill. How many new world wine regions can make Pinot Noir that can not only survive 30 years, but also evolve positively?

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At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Jerry D. Murray said...

Oregon has a track record of making these sorts of wines. I've tasted many Amity wines from the mid and late eighties; fantastic. I recently tasted Elk Cove Pinot's from '77 and '92 that were dynamite. I also was so mesmerized by a recently tasted 1975 Eyrie South Block Reserve that I wrote a lengthy piece for my blog about it. You are right, Oregon has the climate to make wines that age.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I am so glad you like the Oregon wines... I am just wondering how well they are represented in the UK?
They are amazing,,.and more elegant than most of the equivalent Cali wines...
did you try Deadalus or Chehalem?
also ... Eyrie?

Also a footnote,, the 06 are much more round than the '05's which i find more racy and ageworthy.. did you get to taste any 05's?

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

It was great looking at your blog, since I visited the Willamette Valley with a bunch of friends the weekend before IPNC - my first visit, and it was such a great time! My impressions were very similar to yours as far as I could tell - It's totally beautiful there, the weather was perfect, and we met lots of genuinely nice people at every turn.

Best visits of the weekend:
Soter - especially tasting their '97 Blanc des Blancs among the vineyards

Eyrie Vineyards - A great cellar tour at one of the pioneering Willamette Valley wineries with Jason Lett. Excellent wines, both red and white, with reasonable extraction and very little new oak. Jason says he's learning sone cooperage skills in order to keep up the barrels, some of which date from the '70s!

Dinner afterwards at Nick's in McMinnville, with a '98 Eyrie Reserve Pinot

Cancilla Cellars - vineyard tour with Ken Cancilla. He's a very engaging guy, and I learned a lot. Oh, and the wine is great too! Very clean and elegant.

Roots - winery tour and extensive barrel tasting with Chris Berg.

Visits I wouldn't do again:
Archery Summit - beautiful facility, good tour, but the wines were overextracted and overoaked unto deadness, and very expensive to boot. Too much sales pitch at the end. My suggestion - buy the Rose and flee!

Domaine Serene - good wines, but expensive. Facility is very slick - like wine Disneyland.

I'd recommend to anyone to go visit the Willamette Valley!


At 10:08 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Oregon is under-appreciated and misunderstood in the UK. I was really impressed by my visit and discovered lots of excellent wines. I tried mostly 06 and 07 (from barrel) but also a few 05s. Yes, Eyrie really impressed. But so did many other producers. A vibrant, exciting wine scene.


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