Willamette Valley, Oregon
When we were offered a small amount Evesham Wood's Illahe Vineyard Pinot Noir from the blockbuster 2014 vintage, we snapped up as much as we could get. It's rare to see back vintages to begin with, let alone bottlings from top producers in prime vintages. And as you would expect from wines that often invite comparison to the great Pinot Noirs of Burgundy, Evesham Wood's bottlings are amazingly long-lived. This 2014 is just now entering its prime drinking window, but it will continue to age gracefully for many more years. When Russ and Mary Rainey started Evesham Wood in 1986, they planted 8 hectares of prime Oregon land in Eola-Amity Hills to mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. By focusing on achieving optimal ripeness of fruit, and intervening as little as possible in the winery, Evesham Wood makes wines of incredible finesse, power, and elegance. The philosophy that "small is beautiful" has led to only minimal growth in the last 35 years, with current vineyards stretching to a modest 12 1/2 hectares. The focus remains firmly on Pinot Noir, both from their acclaimed home vineyard, Le Puits Sec, and the warmer Illahe vineyard, from which this wine is sourced. Serve at a cool 16 C.
Stunningly pure aromas of ripe bing cherries, raspberries, and violets rush from the glass. In fact, it's so fruit-forward and fresh that you'd be forgiven for thinking this wine was newly bottled. With some time in the glass, Pinot's signature earthy aromas emerge, with dried herbs, underbrush, and faint smoke.
Seamless and focused, with polished, elegant tannins and glossy fruit. All the cherry and raspberry from the nose comes through on the palate, while added notes of dry leaves and earthy mushrooms provide savoury umami flavours. The finish is long and pure, with lifted acidity and echoes of violets, herbs de Provence, and potpourri.
An elegant wine that calls for an equally elegant meal. Match with pan-seared duck breast with wild mushrooms or roasted beets, which will highlight the earthier aromatics in the wine.