Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Terrapin Cellars Pinot Noir (2007)

After spending part of our honeymoon in the Willamette Valley, I became a big fan of Pinot Noir wines from the Valley's vineyards.  I follow a lot of the vineyards, and read a lot about their wines.  A few days ago, Clare brought a bottle of Oregonian Pinot Noir from a vineyard that I had not heard of before.  The winemaker is called Terrapin Cellars.

There are two types of winemakers.  First, there are the vineyards, like Sokol Blosser and Chehalem.  These are vintners who own acres of vines, cultivate the grapes and produce the wine.  Second, there are winemakers who don't own acres of grapes.  Instead, they buy grapes from vineyards and make their own wines, sometimes with the assistance of the vineyards.  

Terrapin Cellars is one of the latter.  It is not a vineyard, but a person who relies upon vineyards to further his craft.  That person is Rob Clarke, a vineyard manager who oversees the fields of small vineyards, usually two to ten acres in size.  Clarke gets the grapes for his wines from these vineyards to make his wines.

The grapes of five small vineyards in the Willamette Valley are used to make the Terrapin Cellars Pinot Noir.  The blend of grapes from different vineyards is then aged for ten months in barrels with 15% new oak.  Only 620 cases of this wine were produced.

The Terrapin Cellars Pinot Noir is a good wine.  It pours a lighter ruby red than other Pinot Noirs that I've had.  The wine has has a fruit forward scent, which also makes its presence known in the taste of the wine, with the presence of raspberries and cherries.  The wine is lighter, drier and not as earthy as some Pinot Noirs that I've tasted in the past. 

You can find Terrapin Cellars at Gilly's Craft beer and Fine Wine in Rockville, Maryland and other wine stores. 


For more on Terrapin Cellars, check out this review by Northwest-Wine.com.

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