I have received quite a bit of feedback on this wine in particular from those who have had access to “early release” wines. This input was from the great people who attended my dinners back in May of this year as well as a few major wine critics and previous employees, Sara Barber in particular.
What everyone has said, in various iterations, was that this is the most impressive Cuvee E I have ever released. The critics even said I was not charging enough for the wine as the quality surpasses the quantity of funds needed to procure the wine. But no, I will not be raising my prices, this is just a forewarning that this wine will be in short supply sooner than you might think. Ergo, buy in copious quantities to secure what is an amazing bottle of wine. – Jay
Cuvee E 2014 Pinot noir
COLOR: Perfect Pinot-esque color with ruby red interior followed by light lilac edges. This is what color and transparency Pinot noir should be. The wine pours beautifully into the glass and nothing will embarrass you in front of the “Burgundy is Better” crowd plus it will teach a thing or two to those who are drinking adulterated Pinot noir from Baja, Oregon. No blending of other varieties or any use of enzymes here to extract deeper and darker colors to fool you into thinking the wine is bigger than it might be. This is real wine and it will make you and everyone else really happy.
AROMATICS: When opened four days ago, or rather FIVE days ago, the aromatics were shy and just showing a nice clean, cherry and plum aroma with a hint of summer dustiness. Over the next few days the wine evolved and a range of aromas showed through with fruit and earth combining on the third day: muddled cherries, alfalfa, roasted plums and morel mushrooms. Now, on the evening of the FIFTH DAY all aromas are all there: starting with violets, freshly sliced black plums, peach skin, orange pith and almond butter. Give the glass a big swirl and then wait… wait for another minute… THEN go back to the glass and inhale: wild strawberries! Rarely do I ever get strawberries in my Pinots but it is here in this one! Amazing aromatics. You could spend an inordinate amount of time just breathing in this wine as it is always changing, albeit slowly, it is changing and evolving, because it is real wine.
FLAVORS: Once imbibed an explosion of blueberries with freshly squeezed lemon are obvious. A smooth, mouth enveloping wash shows more French Green Plum Tart followed by a raison cinnamon bagel toasted to the brown perfection where the raisons are starting to caramelize. Think perfectly aged Barolo without the aggressiveness. How did this happen? Step away for a while then come back to experience smashed raspberries with diced kumquat. How weirdly satisfying is that combination? Have a bit more patience and experience blackberries, wild plums, sous bois (forest floor) and then caramelized plums, dusty raspberries, salmon berries, black currants soaked in Marc tossed over ripe Epoisses cheese and spread over a crusty baguette. This is living!
Epoisses was described as ‘the king of cheeses’ by Brillat-Savarin, the gastronome. The rich and rich-smelling Epoisses cheese was probably first made by the Cistercian monks at the Abbaye de Pontigny and the Abbaye de Fontenay in the 15th century. Now made by the Berthaut factory in the village of Epoisses from cows’ milk, the most traditional version is dipped in Marc de Bourgogne every day for two months. Other varieties from this producer include one dipped in Chablis wine (Affidelice), another coated with ash (Aisy Cendre) and lastly, one treated with a solution of water and salt (Soumaintrain, see below).
TEXTURE: The entry gives you the desired big, rich and bold up front followed by an ethereal mid-palate heft. An almost juicy middle is followed by a complex yet lively finish. This is the perfectly balanced three legged stool of fruit, acid and tannin as the alcohol is almost imperceptible. Even the astringency is not that astringent, it is perfect.
BLEND: This wine was made up of:
66 Percent Saffron Fields Vineyard– Predominantly Pommard followed by Wadenswil and two barrels of the various numbered clones
17 Percent Wind Hill Vineyard Pommard
10 Percent Yates Conwill Vineyard – Own Rooted Pommard Whole Cluster
7 Percent Yates Conwill Vineyard – Field Blend
Below, Saffron Fields Vineyard
Technical Information 2014 Vintage
|Fruit Source:||Saffron Fields, Yates Conwill, Wind Hill|
|American Viticultural Area:||Willamette Valley|
|Sub AVA:||Willamette Valley + Yamhill Carlton|
|Soil Type:||Various Willamette Valley soil types|
|Planted:||1974 – 2007|
|Exposure:||All but north|
|Clonal Selection:||Various Pinot noir|
|Harvest Date:||September 28th – October 8th|
|Yield – TPA/YPV:||~2.8 tons per acre|
|Fermentation:||Native primary and secondary|
|Barrels:||Approximately 25% new French oak|
|titratable acidity 5.7 g/L pH 3.61|
|volatile acidity(acetic) 0.56 g/L|
|ethanol at 60F 13.43 % vol|