Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012

Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012: Modestly red-magenta color; complex cherry, forest floor on the nose

that takes a while to open up and express; red and sour cherry, raspberry, plum, backstory of sweet hints from fruit because winemaker Luisa Ponzi goes out of her way to achieve variety expression and because wet spring reduced crop, concentrating flavor (many regard 2012 as outstanding vintage in Oregon); fleshy, with depth, sour cherry lingers on the finish. Nice acidity, subdued tannin, plush mouthfeel. Ponzi makes an entry level pinot “Tavola” that sells for $25, and reserve wines and single vineyards in the $60-100 range, this is their delicious mid-level delight to what well-made pinot noir is about; compare it to a commodity pinot like Mark West and you will see they live in completely different universes. Dick and Nancy Ponzi established Ponzi in 1970, 15 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon after Dick quit a job as an engineer at Disneyland creating rides. By 1988, Dick was on Robert Parker’s list of the World’s Best Winemakers. Today, Ponzi’s children operate the winery; Michel (operations manager), Anna Maria (president), and Luisa (winemaker). Luisa graduated from Portland State University in 1990, then moved to Beaune, France (the wine capital of Burgundy), to study winemaking. In 1993, she received the coveted Certification Brevet Professionel D’Oenologie et Viticulture, the first American woman to earn such a credential; she is married to another famous winemaker, Eric Hamacher. Ponzi is the real deal. The Willamette Valley effort is super and a sophisticated pour; treat yourself next time you are in an authentic pinot frame of mind. $35-40 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir