Light ruby-garnet color with translucence; raspberry, plum, spice, oak on the nose; red cherry, raspberry, cranberry, cola, vanilla on the palate.
Good acidity gives this light-bodied, delicate offering some bite on the initial attack in the first glass; well crafted, clean, smooths out nicely after some air exposure. Lighter fruits, including some blue fruits that emerge after first sips, cherry cola; oak is present but inoffensive, same with tannins. This is representative of Oregon’s wonderful Willamette Valley pinot noirs, but it lacks depth you get in more expensive offerings. That said, this is nice play at its price point, superior to similar priced pinots from other regions.
Pike Road is a sister brand to famed Elk Cove Vineyards. The Campbell family has been a celebrated producer in the Willamette Valley for more than 40 years; Pike Road is designed to deliver quality pinot for under $20, while the Elk Cove brand focuses on single-vineyard (and most expensive) epics. The Campbells have succeeded, no surprise there. Pike Road 2014 is the first vintage of the new label and a welcome addition to our wine choice panoply.
The Pike Road name comes from a scenic country road in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. It draws fruit from Elk Cove estate vineyards and select other family-farmed vineyards in the area. In addition to this pinot noir, Pike Road also makes a pinot gris which I reviewed earlier this year:
Shirley Brooks, longtime vice president of sales and marketing, comments on the Pike Road website: “We created Pike Road to bring wine lovers unbeatable value in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The idea for Pike Road has been in the works for some time now. We have been acquiring vineyard sites for the last twenty years for a few reasons: to position Elk Cove to be 100% estate grown; to provide sourcing for Pike Road; and finally, because the Campbells are farmers at heart and enjoy establishing new vineyards.”
Pike Road Pinot Noir 2014 has some issues with simplicity, but delivers solid value. There are no flaws or, thank God, no jammed up efforts to make it something it is not. This is pure Willamette pinot noir, which is the exquisite pinot noir region in the U.S., and it is created by a deft, experienced, talented family. Great middle-week wine. And, as it seems with every Willamette pinot I’ve tasted, it begs for pairing with salmon. $19
Other photos: Pike Road vineyard; Pike Road signs at the winery in Carlton, Oregon