Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shea Wine Cellars, Willamette Valley

Pinot Noir: love it or don't... there really doesn't seem to be any in between.

     Myself, I love the damned grape. It was one of my first true joys in wine; tasting a great Pinot Noir. Many years later, I still derive the same pleasure - accentuated only be a deeper appreciation for what tremendous work goes into those delightful results.

     My wife, however, can pinpoint a Pinot Noir being opened on the other side of the room because of it's unique characteristics that my wife says: "Are better appreciated by other people.". She truly dislikes it, and will only grudgingly even taste from my glass.

     Sometimes there are exceptions even to that rule, and Shea Wine Cellars  ( )just might be it! Situated in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Dick Shea started planting grapes on his land in the later 1980's. 95% Pinot Noir, the rest is Chardonnay (which I haven't tried yet), Dick has a truly impressive array of sub-plots and clones.

     The clone I tried is Pommard Clone, which was brought to America in the 1940's & (In My Humble Opinion) is not widely used at present. The winemakers who do use it however, are producing world-class results.

2002Pommard Clone Pinot Noir
$unknown - best guess about $100-$120 Canadian for this vintage if you bought it today
  • deep ruby centre with established brickish rim, slight sedimentation
  • full- to moderate++ intense bouquet; all manner of cherries, black currant, leather, slight tobacco of mild cigars, slight heat from the alcohol, finish with a sweetness reminiscent of blueberries
  • moderate acids, moderate tannins, palate equals the nose in all respects
  • moderate body... almost a touch more then I expect from Pinot Noir but in a wonderful way
  • excellent structure and balance, there is a strong acidic presence right now all the way through the palate, but the fruit is still allowed to show through
     What a wonderful treat, really. My father gave me his last bottle of the '02 & I think it drinks delightfully now, and most likely for quite a few years given the strength of those smooth tannins. We served this with a prime rib roast that I cooked on a bed of leeks and fresh thyme, steamed new potatoes, and a spinach salad I finished with crimini mushrooms roast with white truffle oil, sweet onions and charred bell peppers. The truffle oil really brought out some lovely notes in the wine - but so did the leeks!
                                                          (Shea Wine Cellars in Winter)

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