Owners Weekend at Willamette Valley Vineyards

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The annual Owners Meeting was really interesting, but also a great excuse to taste excellent wine.

Willamette Valley Vineyards is a company that is constantly moving forward, and looking for ways to enhance the wine offerings of its members as well as Owners of Stock.  Currently there are, unless I missed one, five separate and unique wine additions that are “Coming Soon!”.

Pambrun Wines are made almost exclusively from grapes from SeVein – a collection of high quality vineyards, anchored by the renowned Seven Hills Vineyard, on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley.  They consist of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc.  I’m very much looking forward to tasting these.

Elton Winesare made exclusively from grapes grown and harvested from the Elton Vineyards in the Eola – Amity Hills AVA.  I have had the distinct pleasure of tasting these wines and they are SUPERB.  I typically am not a fan of Chardonnay, BUT the Elton Chardonnay is not ordinary.  The balance of acidity and mouthfeel is excellent, the lemon/ginger aromas caress your nose, while the orange, lime and vanilla treat your palate.  The Elton Pinot Noir is complex and lush on both the palate as well as the nose.

Maison Bleue Winery in Walla Walla was acquired by WVV back in Jan 2018.  Winemaker and Owner Jon Meuret had been the one crafting the Pambrun Wines and had develop a respect and appreciation for Jim Bernau through this process.  He decided that his first love is wine-making, so the decision was made to fold the fabulous Rhone varietals of Maison Bleue and the exquisite hands of Jon Meuret into Willamette Valley Vineyards.  Full story here. . .

Willamette Wine Works will be an extension of WVV into local markets, the first of which is in Central California in Folsom.  Much of the construction is still underway and more information can be found HERE.

Bernau Estates is the newest addition and will be specifically designed as a sparkling wine production facility and vineyards.  During the owners meeting, we were given samples of this newest entrant in the family . . . and I must say, it was wonderful!  Looking forward to more of this in the future.

 

On to the tasting notes . . .

We started with the 2016 Griffin Creek Viognier  – This vintage is night-and-day different from my experience with the 2015.  This 2016 had gorgeous aromas of citrus and coconut, with a hint of banana.  The mouthfeel was tremendous, a bit viscous with flavors of honey and stone-fruit.  Very nice indeed.

2017 Estate Rose of Pinot Noir – One of my favorites . . glorious strawberry and floral aromas greet you immediately.  The mid palate was crisp and dry, but the flavors were many and robust. . . .cherries, stone-fruit and vanilla.  Excellent on those patio days.

2017 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir – Without question, my personal favorite pinot noir.  The was some concern last vintage as the flavor profile had changed from what it has been for about a decade.  Some blamed on the heat, or the fruit, but I think someone made a wine-making decision that went sideways.  It is now BACK to all its glory, in my mind anyway.  Truly a fruit salad in a glass . . . cherries, blackberries and vanilla on the nose as well as on the palate . . .the mid palate balance is superb and quite quaffable.

2016 Estate Pinot Noir – This is a gorgeous example of what the various WVV vineyards can be when they are all given a chance to play together.  Aromas of raspberry and herbs and a palate that boasts dark cherry, blackberry  and earth.  For me, the acidity is a bit high on this wine.  They call it “lively” . . . maybe it just needs to lay down for a bit.

2014 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir –  Amazing smoky nose of dried fruit and plums.  The mouthfeel is superb with flavors of dark cherry and baking spices and just a mildly acidic mid and a great finish.

2017 Elton Chardonnay– Slight banana aroma as well as pineapple and stone-fruit.  Silky mid palate with those tropical fruit flavors making their presence known.  Superb mouthfeel.  An excellent example of what I believe Chardonnay should taste like. . . .

2016 Bernau Block Pinot Noir – This is the first block of grapes Jim Bernau planted in 1983.  Great dark fruit aromas, a satin-smooth mid palate with all those great dark fruit flavors bursting forth.  The finish is slightly dry, but silky and spicy to the last drop.  The crowning jewel of the WVV pinot family.

 

As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of WVV wines, I guess that’s why we decided to invest in their expansions.  I forecast some really great new things coming and folks will be clamoring for them.

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