Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2011

Ruby color, translucence; cherry, bell pepper, strawberry nose; dark berries, cranberry, spice, plum, cassis, tobacco-oak on the palate; gritty tannins, good acidy, long finish.

This is not fruity, more austere and precise rather than the ethereous and delicate tastes of some Willamette Valley AVA pinots. Nice effort and well rewarded by critics (91 Wine Enthusiast, 91 Parker).

Sokol Blosser is family-run effort with emphasis since its beginnings in 1971 on sustainable farming, organic grapes, and eco-friendly production. Second generation Alex Sokol Blosser is the winemaker and his sister Alison is the CEO. They manage 86 certified organic acres southwest of Portland.

Northwest wines earn more attention each vintage. Washington and Oregon are not hammered by drought as much as their fellow growers to the south in California and they have tighter focus on quality over quantity and sustainable farming—although, to be fair, plenty of California makers also now march to that drummer.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is the big dog in the northwest (two million cases a year), but there are hundreds of smaller makers that are worth finding. Sokol Blosser makes 6,000-7,000 cases of this pinot a year, plus additional single-vineyard offerings that are more expensive and harder to find. $38-43

Sokol Blosser website

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2011; Siblings Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser
Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Alex, Alison Sokol Blosser