Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Medium ruby color; cherry, raspberry, cranberry, violets on the nose; cherry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, plum, hint of earth on the palate.

Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Dry; medium, chewy tannins; good acidity (3.63 pH) and minerality intriguingly fluctuates through the tasting. Delicate and complex; light-medium body; layered mix of fruits from four different sub-AVAs. Very well managed oak, only one-third finished in new French oak; subtle, pinch of oak spice on the well-extended finish that also brings on the tannins at the base of your tongue.

Jean-Nicolas Méo runs his family’s domain in Burgundy, Domaine Méo Camuzet, and his Burgundian roots clearly reflect in this wine, as Burgundy style reflects in many Willamette Valley pinot noirs. His associated winemaker is Tracy Kendall, who honed her skills in New Zealand, Australia, Washington, and Oregon after earning a masters in enology and viticulture from UC Davis.

Jay Boberg, Tracy Kendall, Jean-Nicolas Méo in the Bishop Creek Vineyard

Jay Boberg became friends with Jean-Nicolas Méo more than 30 years ago when they attended the same university. As Jean-Nicolas worked in the family vineyards and winery, Jay co-founded the indie record label I.R.S. Records and later became the president of MCA/Universal records. They started the Nicolas-Jay project in 2012; this bottle is the second vintage their enterprises has produced.

The grapes for this come from Nicolas-Jay estate Bishop Creek Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and from vineyards such as Nysa, Momtazi, and Zenith. The estate vineyard has been farmed organically since Nicolas-Jay acquired it in 2014. The wine is vinified at Adelsheim—Nicolas-Jay does not have a winery—where Tracy Kendall once was an enologist.

The maker’s website sums up their approach: “We approach our winemaking with a steadfast belief in true artisanship, a passion for discovery and a deep respect for the land. We bring Burgundian traditions to our winemaking while aiming to express the natural elegance of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.”

Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 is extremely well-made, Burgundian-style effort that reflects the continued rise of the Willamette Valley as a world-class terroir for pinot noir. Elegant with depth and deliciousness. Excellent food wine. Pair with seared salmon or trout; cheese with earthy, mushroom flavors and charcuterie; sweet pork barbecue with bacon wrap; barbecue chicken; leg or rack of lamb; chargrilled or roasted asparagus, caramelized Brussel sprouts, roasted tomatoes, stir-fried vegetables with soy-based sauce. $65

Nicolas-Jay website

Jean-Nicolas Méo
Tracy Kendall
Jay Boberg