Pale ruby color; red and black cherries, forest floor, baking spice on the nose; red cherry, red berries, raspberry, redcurrant on the palate.
Dry; light body; grainy, well-behaved tannins; superb acidity (3.39 pH); mere hints of oak—10 months in French barrels, only 11% new. Nicely extended finish with savory notes. This is excellent example of the ethereal style of Willamette Valley pinot noir, setting it apart from heavier, denser California efforts.
All the grapes for this effort came from the winery’s estate vineyards, the second-oldest in the McMinnville AVA. The winery website proclaims: “We have the perfect climate for growing Pinot grapes because we are located in the rain-shadow of the Coastal Foothills, visited by frequent winds that form from the Van Duzer corridor, and planted on western facing sloped hillsides. All of these come together to result in unique wines of quality and distinction, grown 100% from our Estate.”
Yamhill County has more than 80 wineries and 200 vineyards, the largest concentration of grape growers and wine producers in any Oregon county. With their first vintage in 1983, Yamhill Valley Vineyards is the oldest winery in the McMinnville AVA (their vineyard is the second-oldest). They grow, produce and bottle their own grapes at their estate located on 150 acres in the rolling foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range Mountains, one hour southwest of Portland in the Willamette Valley. Yamhill Valley Vineyards grow and make pinot noir, pinot gris, pinot blanc, chardonnay, and riesling.
According to their website: “From our beginning we have been stubbornly dedicated to the pursuit of a character that is distinctively Oregon and distinctively Yamhill Valley. Our goal is to bring forth from this unusual and exciting property the finest possible expression of its intensity, charm and uniqueness.” This delightfully subtle pinot noir is an example.
Principals in the Yamhill effort include Denis Burger, president/founder; Elaine McCall, owner/founder (and Denis’s wife); David Hinrichs, owner/founder; Stephen Cary, winemaker emeritus (who passed away in late April, 2018 after 26 years at the winery); Greg Burger, national sales; Carlos Escobar, vineyard manager; Monica Macais, cellar master. The operation is transitioning to second-generation family ownership, including Jenny and Laura Burger.
Yamhill Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2015 is a splendid example of the lighter, ethereal pinot noirs that Oregon’s Willamette Valley can produce. Well-behaved tannins and marvelous acidity, sensible 13.5% ABV make for a food-friendly easy drinker. An ideal wine to introduce someone who is skittish around red wines to the world of decorous reds. Pair with charcuterie; goat and other milder cheeses; cold meats and pâtés; lamb; pork tenderloin; lighter fish and seafood—including lobster, shrimp, and scallops; French dishes with light, creamy sauces; garden salad; spring vegetables and mushrooms. Avoid strong meat and strong sauce flavors, as this graceful expression of pinot noir could be overwhelmed. $20-22