Monday, June 10, 2013

Privé Vineyard Le Sud (2008)

Recently, I opened a bottle of Pinot Noir wine and noticed a saying on the cork.  "Le vin fait a la main."  This saying translates literally as "wine made by hand" or "handmade wine."  Those words got me to thinking about the hands of the individuals who are responsible for this particular wine ... the Le Sud Pinot Noir (2008) from Privé Vineyard.  I got to thinking about the hands of those who cultivated the Pinot Noir vines, picked the grapes, fermented the juice, and ultimately bottled this particular wine.

Fortunately, I know whose hands are involved in the making of Privé Vineyard's wines.  They are the hands of husband and wine, Mark and Tina Hammond.  They are also the proprietors of the family-owned vineyard and winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon.  Privé Vineyard is located on Chehalem Mountain, which can be found within the Chehalem Mountain American Viticultural Area ("AVA").  It is also located within the Ribbon Ridge AVA, which is the smallest AVA in the State of Oregon.  

Coincidentally, Privé Vineyard is perhaps one of the smallest vineyards in the State of Oregon.   It has only about two or three acres of Pinot Noir vines.  Those acres are divided into two vineyards, which are like the front yard and backyard of the Hammond's property.  The vineyards are dubbed Le Nord and Le Sud.  The Le Nord is at a higher elevation, while the Le Sud is at a lower elevation. The vines growing in both vineyards are about twenty-two years old, and, they produce Pommard (Burgundian) clones. Pommard clones, such as the UCD4 Pommard, are known for producing wines with a velvety texture along with a little spice.  These grapes are also stand-alone grapes, capable of producing wines without having to be blended with other grape varietals.  In the case of Privé Vineyard, the Hammonds use their Pommard clone to produce Pinot Noir in the French style. And, those Pinot Noir wines are among the best wines that Clare and I have had the fortune of trying.

I have previously reviewed two vintages of Privé Vineyard's Le Nord.  They were the 2006 and 2008 vintages of Le Nord. Those wines were produced exclusively with the Pinot Noir grapes from the Le Nord vineyard.  This represents my first opportunity to review a bottle of the Le Sud (2008).

The Le Sud pours a crimson color, with purplish tones showing through depending upon the light.  The wine reveals aromas of dark red berries, like dark cherries or blackberries.  A little oak can be found lingering around the edges of the aroma, reminding the drinker of the fact that the wine is aged in all new French oak barrels. 

As for the taste, the Le Sud is full of fruit, such as those dark cherries. As I continued to enjoy this wine, I began to pick up on different types of fruit.  To be sure, there was the dark cherries, but, as time went on, there was a sense of strawberry in the background.  As more fruit seemed to be added into the mix, it was all well tied together by a hint of black pepper or spice. There was also a hint of minerality, although I could not exactly pinpoint the exact flavor.  Taken together, the fruit with the spice (and that minerality or earthy component), came together for one of the best Pinot Noir wines that I've tasted in a long time (probably since the last time Clare and I enjoyed the Le Nord).

This wine is very food friendly.  The Le Sud pairs easily with grilled or broiled chicken dishes, roast pork dishes, and, of course, seafood dishes, including but not limited to almost any preparation of salmon.  I paired the Le Sud with a Copper River Salmon dish served with an orange-saffron sauce.  The wine worked extremely well with the dish, although I found myself not drinking much of the wine during the dinner.  Instead, I was saving the wine to enjoy by itself after the meal. 

The estate grown wines of Privé Vineyard are very limited.  Only about three hundred cases of the Le Nord and Le Sud are produced annually.  Nevertheless, these wines are worth the effort of trying to obtain them.  When they are available, they can be purchased by contacting Privé Vineyard.


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