The wines of Oregon have long played second fiddle to their famous Californian counterparts, yet their lack of publicity by no means equates to a dearth of quality. One producer in particular has for many years been leading the way on the region’s winemaking, David Lett and his Eyrie Vineyards.
As one of the foremost visionaries and original pioneers in Oregon viticulture, Lett’s decision in 1965 to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Dundee Hills laid the foundation for Willamette Valley winemaking. It took Lett months of searching and an exhaustive analysis of climate records and soils before he found the perfect location for what has now become one of the most historically significant vineyards in the United States.
After tasting Eyrie Vineyards’ wines, so impressed was Burgundy’s Robert Drouhin that he began to explore the idea of producing his own Pinot Noir in Oregon. A decade later, Domaine Drouhin Oregon was founded and this significant investment made by a multi-generational Burgundy winemaking family brought even greater attention to the Willamette Valley.
Today we are delighted to be able to offer a rare treat, Eyrie Vineyards 2017 Pinot Noir “The Eyrie”.
Produced from vines in Eyrie’s original Dundee Hills vineyard, home to the hawks that grace the label, the 7 acres of Pinot were planted from 1965 to 1974. This is one of the only legitimate “old vine” wines being made in the United States, showing depth and complexity, a signature of the deep-roots and reduced yields that come with age.
Fragrant and complex, of this 2017 iteration James Suckling describes, “superb delineation on the palate, offering vibrant, spice-tinged red fruit liqueur, rhubarb and spicecake flavors that pick up a strong floral pastille nuance as the wine opens up” and awards 96 points.
Vinous’ Josh Reynolds also heaps praise saying “the palate has such volume and completeness with a very succulent, red-cherry core that has effortless depth and pure-fruit flavor. Very fresh finish”, 95 points.
Lett has demonstrated the careful attention necessary to keep their acres of old vines healthy, practicing sustainable viticulture and making the decision to stop ploughing altogether. This careful approach in the vineyard continues in the cellar where indigenous fermentations and limited use of new oak aid in crafting truly exceptional Pinot Noir. Not only do current Eyrie releases show a depth and complexity rarely seen outside Burgundy, but they have also proven to age incredibly well.
These wines are seldom found outside the U.S so this is a great opportunity to try something really unique and interesting from a region bursting with potential. The wine will arrive in Spring 2022.
The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir “The Eyrie” 2017 (6x75cl)
£330 per case 6 IB
96 points | James Suckling
Glistening red. A highly complex bouquet evokes fresh red berries and cherry, along with suave Asian spice, potpourri and mineral accents. Shows superb delineation on the palate, offering vibrant, spice-tinged red fruit liqueur, rhubarb and spicecake flavors that pick up a strong floral pastille nuance as the wine opens up. Finishes extremely long and lively, with fine-grained tannins providing shape and discreet grip to lingering raspberry, mineral and floral notes.
95 points | Vinous
Very pure, fragrant red-berry and cherry aromas here with a fresh, sweetly fragrant and spicy edge, as well as forest wood. The palate has such volume and completeness with a very succulent, red-cherry core that has effortless depth and pure-fruit flavor. Very fresh finish.