Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Panther Creek Cellars Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir (2006)

As a winemaker, Panther Creek does not have its own vineyards.  There are benefits to not having your own vineyard.  Most notably, the winemaker can choose to make wines using fruit from different sources.  I have previously reviewed Panther Creek's Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir (2006), where the winemaker obtained all of the grapes from the Shea Vineyard in Oregon's Willamette Valley. 

Both Clare and I purchased the Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir during our honeymoon, when we also picked up another Panther Creek wine, its Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir.  The Vista Hills Vineyard is a forty-five acre vineyard located in the Dundee Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Willamette Valley.  The family owned vineyard grows Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes.  The Pinot Noir grapes are Pommard clones, which originated in Burgundy, France.  And, when they are not bottling their own wine under the Vista Hills Vineyard label, they sell their fruit to local winemakers, like Solena, Panther Creek. 

I could not find any information on the 2006 wine, but I did find the winemaker's notes for the 2007 wine.  While wines can differ from year to year, those notes can provide a guide.  Panther Creek describes its wine as having bright, ruby tones.  This wine is brighter than many of the Oregonian Pinot Noir wines that I have tried. The aromatic elements of the wine are very fruit forward.  The winemaker describes the aromas as having berries, rose petals and cloves.  I can definitely see the berries and even the cloves.  The rose petals did not seem to come forward in the bottle that we tried.  As for the taste, I think the wine had flavors of raspberries, strawberries and other bright fruit, as opposed to dark cherries or plums.  The winemaker describes the wine as having the flavors of strawberries, cream, brandied cherries, and earth tones.  While I think this is a very good wine, I did not pick up all of the flavors that the winemaker suggests.

A bottle of Panther Creek sells for $40.00 per bottle.  It is available from the winemaker's website.


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