Monday, January 23, 2012

Stoller Vineyards Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (2006)

There are certain wineries that have special meaning for my beautiful wife, Clare, and myself.  Bergström, Dobbes, Domaine Drouhin, Erath, Lemelson, Panther Creek, Privé, Sokol Blosser and Stoller.  All of these wineries are all in Oregon's Willamette Valley and their special meaning comes from the fact that they were all part of our honeymoon.

I can still remember our visit to the tasting room of Stoller Vineyards in Dayton, Oregon.  It was a bright, sunny day as we walked up to the tasting room. We sat at a long table, sampling Stoller's wines.  We liked all of them ... a lot.  We ended leaving with a couple bottles, including the Pinot Noir Rose (2008) and the Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (2006).

The Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (2006) is produced from the winemaker's selection of the favorite blocks and barrels.  The selection ultimately came from the original plantings in the vineyard.  The grapes were destemmed into stainless steel tanks for seven to ten days of cold soak.  After pressing, the wine was aged for ten months in barrels, consisting of sixty percent new oak and forty percent neutral oak.  The wine was bottled in September 2007. 

The winemaker describes the Dundee Hills Pinot Noir as having "violets, earth, mineral and red berry aromatics lead to a palate of spice and ripe berries, coupled with bright acidity and smooth texture."  The wine pours a dark purplish color, which is to me a sign of good aging.  This Pinot Noir shares the aromas and tastes that make Oregon Pinot Noirs so great.  As the wine begins to open, aromas of very ripe, large cherries greet the nose.  Those cherries carry through to the taste of the wine.  The cherries are also complemented with a hint of minerality or spice in the taste.

At least for me, Oregon Pinot Noirs are a little bolder and stronger than other Pinot Noirs, such as those from California.  A wine like the Dundee Hills Pinot Noir could easily be paired with pasta dishes (red sauces or olive oil-based), chicken, pork and salmon dishes.  The wine also goes well with roast vegetables and hard cheeses.

We purchased this wine at the tasting room.  I have to say that I have not seen Stoller wines in many wine stores, but it may be available at larger stores. It is definitely worth purchasing if you find it.


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