Fall’s Perfect Pinot Noir

Fall’s Perfect Pinot Noir

Posted on Oct, 18. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

Winter’s Hill is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery in the famous Dundee Hills region where Oregon’s modern wine industry got its start in the late 1960s. The family has farmed the land since 1961, growing grapes since 1990 and bottling their own wines since the late 1990s.

I came across the 2004 Winter’s Hill Pinot Noir in the midst of a tasting lineup of more than 50 bottles in the warehouse of the distributor 10 days ago. I was vaguely familiar with the name of the winery as I pulled the cork, but didn’t know quite what to expect from this mid-$20s retail wine. And to be perfectly frank, I was anxious to get through this sample quickly and move on to a couple of $40 retail Oregon pinots that looked quite exciting. Upon pulling the cork, however, I was quite impressed — this tasted (to me) just like what real pinot noir ought to, with great fruit, balance and complexity and none of the reaching for crazy extraction so often done on the West Coast these days. In fact, when compared against the two $40 bottles that followed, the Winter’s Hill was clearly my preference for just those reasons.

After putting the wine aside and moving on through the rest of the lineup, I just couldn’t get it out of my head, so I went back a couple of other times to re-taste and to my pleasant surprise I just kept liking the wine more and more. Having ferried a sample back to the Guild’s offices, I insisted that Will and Evan taste the wine — given their Francophile palates and familiarity with pinot noir in its purest form, I was curious what their take would be. Sure enough, they were as enthusiastic as I was, and for the same reasons — typicity, purity of fruit, balance, and a sense of place.

I even grabbed another bottle last night to check in on it again, and crafted the following detailed tasting note:

Medium ruby color at the core, lighter at the edge to an orange/pink robe. Black cherry fruit on the nose, with some clove and pine sap. On the palate the cherry fruit comes through silky and smooth, complemented by pine/forest floor notes and a finish reminiscent of an old-fashioned cola. Lovely balance, soft mouth feel — this is drinking in its prime right now.

The flavor profile here is middle-of-the-fairway pinot noir, somewhere between the earthy French and fruit-driven New World styles. Perfect for the season, and with 6 years of bottle age, this wine is ready to enjoy right now and perfectly priced for everyday drinking through the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

Unlike the last couple of offers, we have good quantities of this wine (more than a dozen cases) so we ought to be able to fill large orders for those who want them without compromising others. This is as good an offer as I’ve ever made — a great wine that I think you’ll really enjoy, at a price that’s less than half of its typical retail. Back up the truck!!!

2004 Winter’s Hill Pinot Noir, Dundee HIlls, Oregon
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $11.42 • Premier Cru: $11.99 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $24.00
Buy Now!

One Response to “Fall’s Perfect Pinot Noir”

  1. Diane Lahue

    29. Nov, 2010

    My hubby was a little bit bowled over by this one, it’s the first time in a long time that he’s remarked about the quality twice in the span of about 10 minutes!

    I fear he is moving up in the world to the over $10 range!