• Burgundian Without Pretense

    Burgundian Without Pretense

    Today, I'm happy to offer my favorite extreme value Pinot Noir in the United States, the 2018 McKinlay Willamette Valley.

    The result is an ethereal Pinot Noirs that speaks to the tiny slice of the world they are born. They are everything that we want to offer in wine, in a package that is easy on the wallet.

    Light on its feet, with notes of roses, bright red cherries, damp earth, and framed by a mineral spine derived from well-drained volcanic soils, this is where the conversation on serious value Pinot Noirs officially ends.

    Matt Kinne farms vineyards in the Chehalem Mountain range in the Willamette Valley. He's fastidious in the vineyard, allowing only one grape cluster per shoot, and relying on dry-farming to push roots deep into the rocky volcanic based soils below. There are no additives, no commercial yeasts here, and new oak percentage is kept very low.

     

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Willamette Showstopper

    Willamette Showstopper

    Very few offers have received glowing reviews from customers equaling that of Evening Land's Seven Springs Vineyard Gamay over the past years. Enthusiastic would be selling it short, as this was the symbolic American head-turner for devoted Francophiles. 

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2019 Evening Land Seven Springs Passetoutgrain.

    This collaborative project of Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr answers an intriguing question: What happens when the two people most familiar with the natural approach of Yvon Métras and Jean Foillard tackle the Passetoutgrain Gamay/Pinot Noir blend from their home, volcanic turf?

    The Seven Springs Vineyard in Willamette Valley's Eola-Amity Hills is often called Oregon's prime slope. An October visit really confirmed the historical significance of the wines produced here. They are testaments to the heights achieved in Oregon winemaking today, but the Passetoutgrains may be the real star in the lineup.

    While I'm not shy about my obsession with Cru Beaujolais benchmarks, Passetoutgrain is a much slimmer category. Gamay comprises less than 2.5% of Burgundy plantings.

    Note: I highly recommend this terrific Punch Drink piece on Passetoutgrain.

    If there were a hierarchy within Burgundian Passetoutgrain, you would surely find some familiar names at the top of the heap: D'Angerville, Lafarge, Chevillon, to name a few. Sashi and Raj's regular visits and familiarity with these producers have clearly left a significant impression. However, impressions are one thing. Execution is something entirely different.

    There are fine-grained, just perceptible tannins, followed by an array of red and blue fruit that's simply unrelenting. The duo employs the same method of fermentation used by the great aforementioned traditionalists. Compounded with organic and biodynamic farming, the breathtaking result in bottle shouldn't come as a surprise.

    A small-production gem like this is exactly the kind of wine I get so excited about introducing people to. I highly recommend you take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with one of Oregon's most treasured estates and its rarest wine.

     

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Oregon's Grand Cru Trifecta: Evening Land Seven Spring Vineyard

    Oregon's Grand Cru Trifecta: Evening Land Seven Spring Vineyard

    Our recent offer on Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Gamay Noir was a huge success. Today we move up the hill and toward the pinnacle of the estate, their La Source and Summum Chardonnay, and the rare whole cluster fermented Anden Pinot Noir. The former have become benchmarks for Oregon Chardonnay, and the latter epitomizes the freedom that old vines in the Eola-Amity Hills can afford. These are Oregon Grand Cru sites, and 2014 marks an important time for this historic winery where its bold and contemporary philosophy has become fully realized.

    Seven Springs Vineyard for decades has produced top-flight wines in what certainly can be described as a magical setting in Willamette Valley's Eola-Amity Hills. The appellation stands out for its distinct volcanic and basalt soils, remnants from the Missoula floods from the last ice age. However, two factors greatly impact why this site annually produces wines of supreme balance and agility: The eastern-facing site basks in warmth from sunrise, and the Van Duzer corridor brings cold winds from the Pacific to moderate temperatures. The growing season in the Willamette Valley is very dry and warm, those vineyards afforded the luxury of cooling influences are the ones that prosper.

    While the style of Evening Land has always been about purity of fruit and elegance, the 2014 vintage symbolizes a move toward a greater emphasis on vibrancy, energy, and definition of place. The wines have reached new heights, with brand new labels marking the occasion.

    2014 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Chardonnay
    $79 per bottle.
     
    The La Source shows Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnay at its most precise. Concentration and richness from these very old vines meld beautifully with 75% new oak, but it's the salinity and freshness on the finish that impress for the overall balance here.

    2014 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Summum Chardonnay
    $103 per bottle.

    Summum is the most iconic white of the estate. It's sourced from just 14 rows of old vines in the heart of the vineyard. For years glowing reviews have placed Summum on the top of the list among Oregon Chardonnays. In 2014, the move to age in 100% new Stockinger puncheons works brilliantly, as the larger format finishes this inherently opulent wine with tightly-knit structural definition.

    2014 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Anden Pinot Noir
    $103 per bottle.

    Many have tried whole cluster fermentations with Oregon Pinot Noir, but the tannin profile from the rich volcanic-based soils has shown to be a difficult fit. However, a small block of the oldest Pinot Noir on Seven Springs Vineyard proved to be the one parcel that excelled due to its tiny berries with their ideal skin-to-juice-ratio.Spice, silken texture, and length of finish is what really separates this from all others in the pantheon of great Oregon Pinot Noir.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Old Vine Gamay from Oregon's Iconic Seven Springs Vineyard

    Old Vine Gamay from Oregon's Iconic Seven Springs Vineyard

    The Seven Springs Vineyard in Willamette Valley's Eola-Amity Hills is one of the undeniable top sites within Oregon. An October visit (pictured above) really confirmed the historical significance of the wines produced here. Ones that have stood as testaments to the heights achieved in Oregon winemaking today. And much of that success is derived from vines originally planted in 1983. Though Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the focus at Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard, it's their 1983-planted Gamay that's the real game-changer here.

    We aren't shy about our adoration of Beaujolais benchmark wines, like those ofFoillard, Métras, Dutraive, and Lapierre. That's why when I first tasted this rare bottling from Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr my head was left spinning a bit. Their regular visits and familiarity with these producers in the home of Gamay have clearly left a significant impression. However, impressions are one thing. Execution is something entirely different.

    1983 marks some of the oldest plantings of Gamay anywhere in North America. The age is no doubt a huge factor in the wine's pedigree. There's a marvelous texture, with a dizzying array of red fruits, and a finish that's simply unrelenting. Sashi and Rajat employ the same method of fermentation used by the great traditionalists of Morgon and Fleurie. Compounded with organic and biodynamic farming the breathtaking results in bottle shouldn't come as a surprise.

    Aromatics are a huge focus of the best wines of Beaujolais, and here too the floral notes are wide-ranging and burst out of the glass. 2015 served as a great vintage for this wine, as the hot and dry temperatures were no threat for these old vines that have grown deep into the jory, volcanic soils below. There's a forward juicy quality here that retains a striking freshness from start to finish.

    This special cuvée from an isolated old-vine parcel is a new release from the estate. This small-production gem is exactly the kind of wine we get so excited about opening people's awareness to. I highly recommend you take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with one of Oregon's most treasured estates, and its most rare wine.

    2015 Evening Land Seven Springs Gamay Noir
    $35 per bottle.


    Also available:

    2013 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir
    $54 per bottle.

    2014 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Chardonnay
    $69 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod