Willamette Valley Oregon
Notes from the Producer
This cool and challenging harvest season produced fruit qualities that beckon back to the “Classic Oregon” style that put Willamette Valley Pinot Noir on the world stage. Harvest began September 27 after a warm summer that promised fruit of superior caliber. Fall rains, however, commenced just days before harvest started to ramp up. Keeping an eye on the weather, Van Duzer harvested between rain showers the fruit that had already reached maturity and left the fruit needing more development hanging in the vineyard. This allowed the off and on sunlight to finish maturing the hanging fruit. Harvest ended on October 14, leaving us with a cellar of almost classic Burgundian style wines.
After being selectively hand harvested, the grapes were delivered to the winery in the cool early morning where they were gently de- stemmed. Unlike previous hot vintages, we forwent the pre-fermentation cold soak and immediately started the fermentation by inoculating with pure strain yeast cultures. The grapes were fermented for two weeks on the cool side to maximize fruit and floral characters. Selected tanks were allowed to undergo a post-fermentation extended maceration to balance the tannin with the other components of the wines. The wines were aged for 10 months in a mixture of new and older barrels prior to blending trials during which the best wine lots were selected for a full and balanced estate wine.
A return to the style that made Oregon famous for Pinot Noir, the 2007 Estate Pinot Noir exhibits primary aromas of red fruits such as ripe Bing cherry, raspberry/blackberry, cranberry and currant along with floral aromas of violet and hibiscus in the nose. Even deeper hints of black cherry, rose petal, fresh loam, cardamom and marzipan register on the nose.
In the mouth, the flavors are ripe fruit flavors of raspberry, red cherry, and cranberry. The tannins are already integrated and fill the mouth with richness. The acid backbone of this wine sharpens taste impressions and provides a wine of great length and structure. Restrained use of new oak imparts structure and an almost subliminal dash of smoke and spice.
We stacked the Van Duzer up against two, completely different wines. One was a Mercurey 1999 (Côte Chalonnaise) that I'd brought back from France. Another was a Fleur (Carneros), 2007. First, they were all quite good. The Mercurey, which I had picked up from the winemaker himself, carried its own. The Van Duzer was very much in the French tradition and compared well with the Mercurey. But the curious one was the Fleur, which had a wonderful, full, cherry nose.
Van Duzer: $38
Mercurey: 9 Euro (about $13)