92 points. Brilliant red. Brambly dark berries and cola on the nose, along with suggestions of candied flowers and licorice. Appealingly sweet raspberry and cherry-cola flavors are given clarity and spine by juicy acidity. Suave and focused on the youthfully tannic finish, which boasts outstanding thrust and cling.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave some of its highest ratings to EIEIO in its March 2015 review of Oregon wine.
Parker’s publication singled out EIEIO’s Wind Hill Vineyard Pinots for special mention:
On the 2012:
“Winemaker Jay MacDonald clearly has the knack of producing top-quality Pinot Noirs that stood out from the crowd, in particular his superb Wind Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir that is surfeit with freshness and vitality.”
“The 2012 Wind Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir is supposedly the most northern vineyard in the Willamette Valley. From vines planted between 1974 and 1988 it is matured in 20% new French oak. It has plenty of dusky red and black fruit on the nose interlaced with truffle and mushroom scents. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp acidity, vibrant citric fruit, lively red cherries and wild strawberry that form the caressing, lightly spiced finish. This is another excellent offering from EIEIO.” – Neal Martin 92 Points
The Equally “Superb” 2006 Vintage
I rarely make a Wind Hill Vineyard designate Pinot noir. The vines are old and the site is cool. But when the grapes are right, the wine is as Parker says “superb”. Only one other year has provided the grapes for a Wind Hill designate, 2006, as good or better a wine as the 2012.
My notes on the 2006:
Red garnet with flecks of pink. This is a deep, rich wine with dimension and detail, very spicy and intense but also elegant. Classic black cherry and violets permeated with fresh green bean and ground black pepper. A dusty quality encompasses not only the aromatics but also the flavors due to the older vine site. The initial attack of acidity is backed up by a solid framework of dried berries and earth, oak and minerals with a floral edge and encompasses tannins that dominate the finish. Initially the dusty raspberry and blackberry components are behind the scenes, but emerge over time. Fine grained tannins commingled with layers of flavors of spice. – Jay
Wind Hill, planted in 1974, is the oldest vineyard that EIEIO & Company currently sources fruit from. It was planted near the Hartwick Reservoir in 1974 by the Reese family, Oregon winegrowing pioneers, and was purchased by Elk Cove in 1996.
Located approximately five miles northwest of Banks, Oregon this might be the northern most vineyard in the Willamette Valley. As such, it is a cooler and later ripening site. A gentle south-facing slope helps to ripen the old-vines and produces an elegant, cellar-worthy wine. Wind Hill is predominately compose of volcanic soils known locally as Laurelwood and great plant material made of old, self-rooted Pommard clones. These are all essential elements for producing great Pinot noir.
Since 2001 EIEIO has had access to fruit from this site, however no single vineyard designation was cited until 2004; prior to then the wine was bottled under the Cuvee I label.
A most profound nose not offering up the normal array of aromas found in the 2012 vintage, this wine shows a subdued elegance, a shyness, almost coyness, not really letting you pull anything out. But if you wait, and wait patiently, this wine will open up to show you more than you have ever imagined a wine could present, usually a sign of cellar-worthiness and long term age-ability. Subtle aromas of plum flowers, just cracked open sea urchin, homemade plum jam and candied orange peel. So where is the typical cherry-berry thing that most Pinots have as the base aroma? Well, it is not here in this wine at this point in its life. It certainly was looking over my cellar notes from the vintage so I think it will re-emerge with time. And that is why this wine has yet to be released! It needs more time. Feel free to “pre-order” this bashful beauty, as those of you with patience will be amply rewarded.
|Fruit Source:||Wind Hill Vineyard|
|American Viticultural Area:||Willamette Valley|
|Sub AVA:||Yamhill Carlton|
|Planted:||1974 – 1988|
|Exposure:||South – Southwest|
|Elevation:||400 – 900 feet|
|Harvest Date:||October 18th|
|Yield – TPA/YPV:||2.2 TPA|
|Fermentation:||Native primary and secondary|
|Barrels:||20% New French oak|
|Production:||88 cases of 750ml bottles|
|titratable acidity 5.8 g/L|
|volatile acidity (acetic) 0.63 g/L|
|ethanol at 60F 13.75% vol|