Monday, April 21, 2014

Lemelson Vineyards Thea's Selection Pinot Noir (2007)

There are a handful of winemakers and vineyards that are noteworthy and special to both Clare and myself.  A few of those winemakers come from the Willamette Valley, where we spent part of our honeymoon.  And, one of those Willamette Valley winemakers/ vineyards is Lemelson Vineyards.

Lemelson Vineyards has an interesting backstory.  The owner, Eric Lemelson, is the oldest son of Jerome Lemelson, the reknown inventor and innovator who had more than six hundred patents.  Unlike his father, Eric has committed himself to pursuing the truly un-patentable ... a noteworthy and outstanding Pinot Noir.  Lemelson Vineyards has seven vineyards, with names such as Briscoe, Chestnut Hill, Rocky Noel, Stermer and Wascher, on which they cultivate Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes. Those vineyards are found in three different American Viticultural Areas or AVAs.

When we visited Lemelson, we had the opportunity to sample some of their wines.  We bought a couple of bottles and I keep an eye out for bottles at local wine stores, such as this bottle of Thea's Selection Pinot Noir (2007).  This wine is produced with Wadensvil, Pommard, and Dijon clones grown in the Stermer, Johnson and Wascher vineyards.  The wine is aged for fourteen months in 55% new and 45% refilled French oak barrels and then aged an additional 3 months in the bottle.

The wine pours a dark crimson, ruby red.  The color suggests a very earthiness to this Pinot Noir, which clearly follows in both the aroma and the flavor. 

As for the aroma and taste, the winemakers are very descriptive when it comes to the Thea's Selection. The winemakers suggest that the aroma includes smoked tea, black raspberry, forest floor (remember that earthiness) and coffee, which are lifted by strawberry, bing cherry and asian spice.   I could find some of the elements, such as the black raspberry and earthiness, along with some spice (although I could not necessarily characterize it as "asian" spice).  As for the taste, the winemakers describe it as a "classic, silky smooth Pinot Noir texture, with sweet fruit and vibrant acidity that is the hallmark of this vintage."  The fruit definitely comes forward in the taste, coming to the forefront of the palate, pushing the forest floor and the spice to the side.  As the finish shines through, there are notes of both raspberry and cocoa in the wine.

This wine is a classic Oregon Pinot Noir, and, as such, its combination of fruit and earth allows for some more substantial pairings.  I would pair this dish with a range of grilled meat dishes, including chicken and pork, as well as even some steak dishes.  It would also pair well with hard cheeses and some milder soft cheeses.

This vintage is no longer available and, quite frankly, I cannot remember how much a bottle costs.  If you happen to come across a later vintage, it is worth the purchase.  A search of the Internet revealed that, depending upon the vintage, the price per bottle runs from $25 to $35.


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