Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Erath Oregon Pinot Noir (2006)

Earth, from which the grapes come.  Heart, from which the wine comes.  Taken together, you get  Erath.  The founder of Erath Winery, Dick Erath established one of the first vineyards on Chehalem Mountain in Oregon.  He and his winery also produced the first wines commercially in Dundee Hills.  The winery has thirteen vineyards, with names like Leland, Prince Hill and Quail Run, where Erath grows Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.

Both Clare and I visited Erath Winery's tasting room while we were in Willamette Valley.  We were able to taste four or five of their wines, including the Pinot Noir.  The Erath Pinot Noir is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes from Willamette Valley and is aged in 25% French Oak barrels. 

We brought back a bottle of the 2006 Pinot Noir for us to enjoy at home and we recently opened the bottle.  The wine poured a nice ruby red and aromatics are nice, full of cherries and other fruit. According to the winemaker's notes, which I found on the website, there are black cherry aromas, with sweet mandarin orange.  While I could smell the black cherry, I was not quite getting the orange.  The winemaker also says that, as the wine opens, aromas of clove, vanilla, anise and caramel, some of which I found to become more prevalent as I drank the wine.  

The wine is milder and less earthy than other Pinot Noir wines that I have tasted.  I definitely was able to taste the cherry, as well as hints of the clove.  The milder taste of this wine makes it very drinkable, one that could be enjoyed with just about any meal. 

The 2006 vintage is sold out.  Nevertheless, I still post wines like this Erath Pinot Noir because, the wine is so good that I would definitely consider buying a more recent vintage.  To be sure, there may some differences in a wine from year to year.  However, given the history of the winemaker and the 2006 Pinot Noir, the odds are that I would be getting a great wine.

Erath is one of the more widely available Pinot Noir wines from the Willamette Valley.  You can find it at stores like Rodman's.  More recent vintages sell for about $18.99 a bottle.


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