2004 Pinot Noir: Views from the Vine, Oregonwines.com

    Views From the Vine
    Memorial Day 2005 Writeup

    By Matt Mayer

    Published on June 30, 2005

    I felt disappointed I was only able to get out to the wineries for one day when so many looked like a good time. However, when you have a family there are times you must put your wine agenda on hold and this was one of those weekends. I do feel I was able to pack a nice full day into Saturday and get to a few I have not seen before.

    The first winery of the day was ArborBrook Vineyards. This was the first weekend they were open to the public. There were pouring two wines, a bottled Pinot Gris and Point Noir still in the barrel.

    Wine: Pinot Gris
    Year: 2004
    Price: 22
    Aroma: vanilla, yeast, fieldish
    Taste: oak, vanilla, toasted, nutty, light acid
    Wine level/Wine Value: 7/7

    My Comments: A very good Pinot Gris for a first commercial bottling. This wine will stand up against most light summer fare enjoyed on the back porch or picnic table. You can taste the wine fermented in steel and oak and it gives the wine a near perfect balance.

    The two Pinot Noirs to be tasted were very different. One barrel was from a five ton fermentation tank and the other barrel was from a two and a half ton fermentation tank. These experiences are great learning chances. I can’t remember the last time I was able to taste two wines from the same vineyard, made with the same methods, by the same winemaker the only difference being the fermentation process. I have tasted wines from the same grapes and different winemakers or many other combinations but not this one.

    This showed me how, all things being done the same, the sheer size of the fermentation tank can affect the wine itself. The wine in the five-ton fermenter was much softer and "feminine." I would say it was ready to be bottled and enjoyed. It showed a huge aggressive cherry aroma and taste and did not have a weak body like one might imagine for only being about six months old. The two and a half ton fermenter’s wine was very different. It was much more "masculine" with a strong tannin effect in the taste. The aroma of the wine was dominated by black licorice and leather. The taste besides having the tannins showed black licorice, leather, tobacco and a very strong structure.

    I am hoping ArborBrook bottles some of the five ton fermented Pinot Noir in its own bottle. I know they will blend the two together to create what should be a very great Pinot Noir and, at a price I am guessing is about $30, it is not going to be available for long when it hits the market in the bottle on Thanksgiving 2005.

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