Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tasting Hyland Estates Current Releases

Once again I was invited to do a live Twitter tasting (shall we just call them LTt's?) but for a change, the winery featured is local to me. As many of you know, every Wednesday on Twitter, from 6-7pm PST you can use the hashtag #Winechat and see a passionate group of wine lovers chatting, usually with a fairly specific topic. It's a great way to learn about wine while connecting with people from around the world.

Hyland Estates, located in the McMinnville AVA, has vineyards dating back to 1971. There are several highly regarded wineries using the fruit too, and Hyland Estates is almost always comes up in discussion for premier grapes here in the Willamette Valley. My friend and Hyland Estates' Director of Marketing, April, invited me to participate along with fellow bloggers from around the USA.

From the press materials I received: "The initial planting is all self-rooted in volcanic Jory soil and has the largest planting of self-rooted Coury Clone Pinot Noir which was smuggled into the US presumably from Alsace by Charles Coury during the 1960’s. Hyland Estates is centered on old-vine, terroir-driven wines from the historic Hyland Vineyard located in the foothills of the Oregon Coastal Range near McMinnville. Originally planted in 1971, the 200 acres Hyland Vineyard showcases some of the best preserved self-rooted 40-plus year old plantings of Coury, Wädenswil, and Pommard clones in Oregon as well as some of the first Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Chardonnay vines planted in the state. Since the purchase in 2007, Laurent Montalieu, Danielle Andrus Montalieu, and John Niemeyer have devoted their work to honoring its past through gentle stewardship of the land and terroir-driven grape production."

Pretty cool, right? Needless to say, I was looking forward to this tasting.

2012 Hyland Estates Riesling: Lots of ripe apple and spices on the nose, along with a hint of summer melon and citrus. Plenty of acidity kissed by just a touch (.8%) residual sugar. That helps show some more apple and spice tones along with a little bit of leesy richness. Overall this a clean, simple, easy to drink riesling that I really want to pair with some spicy Thai food. $25 srp. 13.0% abv.

2013 Hyland Estates Gewurztraminer: The nose is all lychee and peaches, how lovely! On the palate it's got a lot acidity, a good thing, as well as an interesting oiliness which makes it taste a little bit richer. Pear and peach work with the lychee on the palate to balance out the wine nicely. Another one that does need to be paired with food, and be sure not to taste it too cold! The aromatics are lovely as it warms up. $28 srp. 12.2% abv.

2011 Hyland Estates Pinot Noir McMinnville: I opened this about 2 hours prior to tasting. On nose it veers into darker territory, with more focused black cherry and cola notes. Some lovely summer strawberry aromas come through with air, along with a touch of balsamic and a kiss of oak. This is definitely bigger on the palate too, with broad-shouldered black fruit and cola. The acidity is quite compelling, and there are firm tannins. It's got a bit of heat on the finish, but that isn't too distracting from the overall quality of the wine. Bring on the cheeseburgers! 13.3% abv. srp $38.

2012 Hyland Estates Pinot Noir "Coury": Spicy black pepper, forest floor, black cherries. A bit reticent on the palate, despite a 2 hour decant, this is young but strangely not as exuberant as almost every other 2012 I've had. On the other hand, excellent mouthfeel, it's rich and full-bodied (for a pinot) but retains good acidity and finely integrated tannins. More oak comes through with swirling, which helps rather than hinders. There's black tea and cola on the rich, smooth finish. All in a all, a wine to drink now but also to have the luxury of cellaring for several years. 13.5% abv. srp $60.

Thanks again to April for inviting me to participate. I think the tasting notes tell the story and if you're interested in the wines, check out the Hyland Estates website or Hyland Estates on Facebook.

These wines were samples for tasting purposes.

Beau Carufel

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tasting Emeritus Pinot Noir Releases

A month ago I was scheduled to do a live tasting (I sure do a lot of them!) with Charles Communications and Brice Jones of Emeritus Vineyards. Unfortunately, life got kind of crazy for a time and I wasn't able to join in the small crew of bloggers invited to this exclusive tasting. Fortunately for me, the wines had arrived and the folks at Charles Comminucations were understanding of my absence.

Fast forward several weeks and things had calmed down, somewhat, so I was able to open and taste the wines, taking some notes along the way. We were sent two single vineyard pinot noirs, from Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley AVA's, respectively. Also, a rosé made from 100% pinot noir, in the saignée method.

I'll spare you from an attempt at explaining the Emeritus Vineyards story and get straight to the wines, but you can scroll down to see a little bit of it and then click the link to find out more.

2013 Emeritus "Ruby Ruby" Saignée Rosé Russian River Valley:
Pours a candied red, gently paling towards the rim of the glass. On the nose I get some herbs and tart red berry, oak barrel, and alcoholic heat. At 14.0% abv (listed), this is about 2.5% higher than I usually go for with a rosé. On the palate there's that same nice mix of herbaceous and red fruit, like fresh red cherries. It's a touch sweet (perhaps from the alcohol) and tastes like it's seem some oak too, but I can't find any mention in the tech notes. I like the acidity because it helps restrain the exuberance of the fruit in this, whilst setting the wine up for pairing with summer foods. For those of you who enjoy more full-bodied rosé wines, this is right up your alley. $25 SRP.

2011 Emeritus William Wesley Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast:
Nice garnet in the glass, good depth, lightly pale at the edge. With some air, aromas of raspberry, strawberry, pie crust, and baking spice rush out. The mouthfeel is quite lovely, with great acidity and very fine tannins. I like how the flavors don't overload my palate, rather, they gently usher themselves in. Lots of tart strawberry and a touch of oak, spicy peppercorn, and licorice. There is a touch of heat on the finish but it's certainly not a big deal. I have to say I was impressed with this pinot, it's got all the elements in play and maybe just needs a touch more bottle age. $68 SRP. 14.0% abv. Recommended.

2011 Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley:
Light purple going towards garnet at the edges of the glass. On the nose I get baked cherry pie, forest floor, mushrooms, and black peppercorns. With more swirling, these elements find an impressive balance. This is riper than the Sonoma Coast bottling, but still maintains nice acidity and balance. There is more sweet cherry pie going flavors here, which indicates ripe fruit and perhaps new French oak, along with a softer baking spice flavor that meanders across the palate. I think this is a bit young, it hasn't had time to develop any secondary flavors. The finish is excellent, a gentle tapering of flavor that cleanly disappears after a solid 15 seconds. $42 SRP. 14.0% abv. Highly Recommended.

I suggest surfing over to the Emeritus Vineyards website and checking out their story. Brice Jones has had a very cool life, from flying in the Air Force to starting Sonoma–Cutrer, then selling it and buying a large vineyard and devoting himself to producing premium Pinot Noir. He now has two sites, the two bottlings I tasted.

California Pinot Noir is not in abundance in my cellar but these two wines would certainly be welcome, that Russian River Valley bottling was excellent. It's priced fairly too, at $42. I preferred it to the Sonoma Coast, which is rare but always fun, because there seemed to be better acidity and a more interesting set of flavors. That said, either bottle will make pinot lovers happy and both will pair with food. I'd recommend salmon, duck, even marinated, grilled pork chops.

Visit Emeritus on the internet.
Emeritus Vineyards on Facebook

These wines were samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel