2003 was big in every aspect, think broad-shouldered middle linebacker out of the NFL. Fourteen growing days over 100 degrees during the summer delivered fruit of maximum ripeness and Oregon’s most over-the-top vintage to date.
2003 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Whip smart and dense at the same time. It was the most difficult blend we’ve ever assembled (from Temperence Hill, Shea Vineyard, Momtazi, and Anderson Family vineyards), and for nearly a year the combination consistently refused to reveal itself. We worked arduously to attain balance, knowing that if you don’t have elegance, you don’t have Pinot Noir. The result is a dark purple burgundy wine with a rich effusive nose of sweet ripe cherry, blueberry, licorice and caramelized graham. The palate is an explosion of fresh red acidity, pure cherry concentration and serious length. Light smoky meat and hint of evergreen spice, perhaps juniper, add to the complexity. Exceptionally round with a brambly and abundant texture, the wine lingers long, leaving a slight “just brushed your teeth” tingle and a coating of silky tannins on your smiling grill. 516 cases, $36. Sold out.
2003 Anderson family Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This single-vineyard designate is all about power, moving power and sleekness. The ripe and copious tannins behaved early in barrel as if they were Cabernet – a big one. Like a game of tiddly-winks, for 15 months tannin would not step off fruit and give us a clear indication of the wine. In the end, we are not sure if we relinquished, or the wine just took its rightful place as the pinnacle of structure out of our cellar. This dark, pure-form Pinot is powerful, complex, beautiful, meant to lay down. Its aromas are all fruit and resin. Black cherry, cherry cheesecake, melon, spruce forest and pencils intermingle. Serious, structured, with a concentrated and focused palate, it is dark and almost savory. It comes in low and fast on the palate with good acidity and dense sleek tannins. Decant to get it air within its first four years. Well cellared you should anticipate additional complexity during its first 10 years with a potential 12- to 20-year drinking horizon. The wine for these two best barrels comes from the steep and rocky south block of Anderson Family Vineyards. 50 cases. $65. Sold out.
2003 Antoinette Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
A cool whirlpool, in a sea hotter than Hades. This Pinot is dark ruby with concentrated wafting aromatics of ripe boysenberry, peach pie, cinnamon and flowers. The wine is rich and persistent as huge cranking cherry takes over your mouth and continues to build amazing length and volume. A substantial, yet accessible, structure supports the massive fruit on an age-worthy frame. The wine finishes clean and fresh on a light oak tailout. It’s a little daunting to choose such a massive wine as the pinnacle of elegance out of our cellar and yet, it is the right choice. Temperance Hill’s (24-year-old) later and cooler high-elevation vines deliver old vine complexity with fresh acidity, despite the hot summer of 2003. Decant to get it air within its first three years. Well cellared you should anticipate additional complexity during its first 10 years with a potential 12- to 20-year drinking horizon. 66 cases. $65. Sold out.
2003 Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
We believe the variety is Pinot noir … not Merlot noir. Our three-acre, mid-slope east block of Shea Vineyards is warm and early, delivering fruit of optimal ripeness. The hot year of 2003 compounded the challenges of when to harvest, and how to handle, to avoid “blowing the roof off.” We went at it with restraint and delicacy to allow the terroir of the vineyard to come through and as a means of achieving varietally recognizable Pinot noir. Good grapes allow that. In glass the wine is purple red throwing a nose of cherry, plum and brown spice. A big, dark front-end attack of cherry cobbler draws into a full blueberry mid-palate with hints of meat, toast, licorice and cracked pepper. The palate lingers both sweet and smooth finishing on fine front-of-mouth tannins. Normally the booming bass note out of the cellar, the 2003 Shea is substantial, and yet more about balance and finesse. Decant to get it air within its first three years. Well cellared you should anticipate additional complexity during its first seven years with a potential 10- to 12-year drinking horizon. 75 cases. $65. Sold out.
2003 Provocateur Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This wine is vibrant garnet in color and throws a nose of spice, earth, moist tobacco and plum. It’s got a huge cherry-is-as-cherry-does fruit attack leading to a supple palate of root beer, ginger, chocolate and soy. Pure Pinot noir, very balanced, perhaps sultry, and of medium-plus length, it finishes with a grilled-toast tailout and a slight, nice-to-let-it-linger grip. The cuvee that made up these 425 cases came from a blend of five vineyards: Shea (6 years), Gemini (12 years), Momtazi (5 years), Temperence Hill (23 years) and Anderson Family (12 years). The wine was fermented in small lots using wild yeasts in open-top stainless steel tanks. The wine was 100% barrel aged for 18 months (15% new/85% one year or older) and then racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered in April 2005 (alcohol 13.75%, pH: 3.45). In terms of ageability, this felon will do three to five, but wouldn’t you rather drink it now? $18. Sold out.
Glass 2003 Willamette Valley White Pinot Noir
A racy and sophisticated summer blush. Think rosé Champagne without the bubbles. Eyes closed, this beauty presents itself as if it were a crisp citrus-flower aperitif in frosted crystal. Eyes open, it’s a sunset pale rosé throwing a substantial perfume of lily, petrol, citrus and vanilla before you. Grapefruit, lemon zest, quince and lime mortise into a weighty palate that hints at sweet fruits, but remains bone dry. Bottled with a slight spritz, just enough bitter to quench, and a long precise finish, this wine may well knock you off the patio stool and on to your gl…ass. 357 cases. $17. Sold out.