2010 Hyland Estates’ Pinot Noir

Love at first sip.

Hyland Estates Pinot Noir

There was no mood lighting. No fancy bar with a white moose head or chandelier. No sexy bartender with deep green eyes to get lost in or vivacious vineyard views.

Just me, my teal travel mug, a bag of microwave popcorn and this wondrous wine, Hyland Estates’ 2010 Pinot Noir. And you know it must be a seductively good bottle if it can make you forget that you’re drinking alone in a run-down cowboy themed motel room in Burns, Oregon; but that’s another story.

With balanced acidity that bites at your lip, this Pinot Noir is full of flavor yet still delicate and light. Each sip fills that hallow spot with warmth. Notes of red berry and cherry offset the pH level and a lingering hint of leather and purple fruits add an unexpected roundness to the wine. The aroma’s soft and not hinting at the character to come.

Like the Solena Estate Pinot Gris I reviewed back in February, this wine was also crafted by Laurent Montalieu in Dundee, Oregon. After graduating from the Institute of Oenology in Bordeaux in 1987, Montalieu has worked for many successful wineries including Chateau La Tour Blanche near Sauternes, Domaine Mumm in the Napa Valley, Bridgeview Vineyards in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley and Willakenzie Estate in the north Willamette Valley. Focusing now on his state-of-the-art custom wine-growing facility, Northwest Wine Company, Monalieu has come to craft wine that speaks both to the vineyard sites and his stand-along style. With ease and intrigue, each wine that I’ve sampled by this talented winemaker makes me fall in love with the drink again and again.

And I’m not the only one who has high praise for Hyland’s Pinot Noir. Wine Enthusiat awarded the 2010 Estate vintage 91 points and Wine Spectator, 90 points. But ultimately, it’s up to you! Let this wine woo-you at Hyland Estates‘ tasting room in Dundee, Oregon. Open daily from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

2011 Solena Estate Pinot Gris

Fresh like almost-ripe fruit, this Pinot Gris cuts through food with a clean and refreshing finish.

Solena Pinot GrisNotes of stone fruit, apple and citrus travel from the nose to the palate on Solena Estates’s 2011 Pinot Gris. Like the mist from a fresh squeezed lemon, the wine puckers with just a touch of tart acidity but reveals a nice balance with mineral notes.

Hand crafted by Laurent Montalieu, the winemaker and co-founder of Northwest Wine Company, this wine is one that you’ll want to keep coming back to time and time again. Just look out, sharing can be difficult.

This is just the first of six reviews featuring Laurent Montalieu’s wines. Look for more about the Northwest Wine Company and Solena Estate in the upcoming weeks!

2011 Ghost Hill Pinot Noir Rose

Strawberry like summer, this Rose will make you blush.

Ghost Hill Rose

A mouthwatering anomaly, Rose of Pinot Noir has always been one of my favorite bottles to pour with food and this bottle by Ghost Hill Cellars is definitely not an exception. With subtle fruit that sprouts with each sip, the wine features notes of strawberry and rhubarb yet backs up the palate with bright acidity and a dry finish, which makes easy to pair with foods across the table.

Taste Ghost Hill’s Rose of Pinot Noir at Fox Farm Vineyards’ downtown Newberg tasting room. Open noon to 8pm daily.

Also read my review of Ghost Hill’s 2008 Pinot Noir.

2007 Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir

A layered wine featuring both fruit and earth tones.

Amity Vineyads Pinot Noir

After coupon cutting, fighting for parking spots and rushing around from store to store on Black Friday, I came home put up my feet and relax with a glass of Amity Vineyards 2007 Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir. While it opened a little tight, the wine after 20 minutes started to reveal its many layers. The dark maroon wine started with aromas of blue fruit, raspberry and licorice. On the palate, it sipped with notes of raspberry and plum then transitioned to light earth, sauteed mushrooms and a finish of sweet cinnamon. With medium-low acidity, this Amity Vineyard’s Pinot Noir drank silky smooth and helped to ease away the rough edges of the day.

Visit Amity Vineyards just north of downtown Amity, Oregon.

Also try Amity Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir.

2011 R. Stuart Blogger’s Blend

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I popped open a bottle of Pinot Noir apply named “Gratitude.” And this year I have more to be thankful for than just great wine! Beside my family and friends, I am very thankful to R. Stuart Wine Company this year for helping me to create this almost one of a kind (it’s 1 or 12) bottle of Oregon wine!

Last summer, I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland and after the event, R. Stuart and Wine Co invited a handful of bloggers out to their McMinnville winery to blend our own bottles of Pinot Noir. And oh my, was it fun! Read my blog post “Blending Wine at R. Stuart & Co. Winery” to learn more about the experience.


After a year and a half, I finally worked up the nerve to open a bottle of the Pinot and, man, am I grateful that it also turned out awesome!

The aroma sparkles with notes of raspberries, black cherries and a touch of earthy spice and leads into a light bodied, fruit forward pinot with bright acidity. Finishing with touch of cola, the wine lingers on the palate without weighing it down and opens the door for fantastic food pairings. Good thing I have a second bottle!

Thanks to the folks at R. Stuart for hosting a great event and making my team’s dream bottle of “Gratitude” come to life!

What are you thankful for this year? What bottle of wine are you going to celebrate with?

Fox Farm Vineyards’ 2011 Pinot Noir

Deep in color and rich in flavor, this pinot is as friendly as it gets.

Fox Farm Pinot Noir

A blend of five vineyard sites around the Willamette Valley, the 2011 Fox Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir showcases the best flavors of the valley throughout the palate – even though its still a young wine! Robust yet delicate, the wine features notes of dark cherry and plum plus a lovely touch of spice. The aroma teases the nose with a boutique of mocha and dry flowers.

Visit Fox Farm Vineyards in downtown Newberg daily from noon – 8pm and hang out for awhile. David the owner is almost always in the tasting room and no stop is complete without hearing all his great stories!

Division’s 2012 Pinot Noir “Quatre”

A young Pinot Noir with full fruit flavor and no fuss.

Division Wine

Featuring notes of strawberry and raspberry backed by earth tones and a touch of fig, Division Winemaking Company’s 2012 Pinot Noir “Quatre” shows off layers from its 75% whole cluster fermentation. With only 40 cases of this wine, I highly recommend picking up a bottle for a special night. It even tastes better via candlelight at St. Jacks.

An urban winery with a clear focus on quality Oregon wine, Division, based in SE Portland, crafts Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Gamay for city slickers and neighborhood hipsters alike. Try their wines at the SE Wine Collective.

Dig into Oregon Wine

If you missed Lenne’s last dirty event, you are in luck. They are at it again. Come out to Lenne Estate and discover why they say “soil is everything!”

Enjoy a blind tasting of eight high-end Oregon Pinot Noirs and learn how terroir, the soul and the essence of the wine, influences its flavor profile. The event will showcase four wines from the Dundee Hills and four from Yamhill-Carlton. Sample each and learn how volcanic soil differs from sedimentary soil.

  • When: November 9th, 10:30 a.m. – noon
  • Where: 18760 NE Laughlin Road ~ Yamhill, OR 97148
  • Cost: $25 per person
  • RSVP: By tickets online

Real World Wines by Union Wine Company

Wines for the real world, Union Wine Co invites you to sip, savor or even throw a soiree with their delectable pours.

Union Wine Co Riesling

Crafted from some of the oldest Riesling vineyards in Oregon (1968), the Kings Ridge Riesling by Union Wine Company lets loose with flavors of apple, stone fruit and a flinty finish. Without being overly nostalgic to its old vine grapes, the wine remains fresh, clean and lively.

Union Wine Pinot Noir

A blend from vineyards in both the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys, the Underwood Pinot noir is a great Monday night wine. Pick up a bottle, bring it to the Potluck, or savor it to yourself. Any way you drink it, it will fit like a skinny pair of jeans. Featuring notes of subtle blue and red fruit, this Pinot noir is light and bouncy on the palate.

Union Wine Company’s goal is to make Oregon wines that are affordable and delicious and so far from what I’ve tasted they are right on the money. With three separate labels, Underwood, Kings Ridge and Alchemist, this winery has something for everyone’s taste buds.

I still have four more of their wines to try, so stay tuned!

Illahe’s 2012 Rose of Tempranillo

Pink is the new black in Oregon and Illahe’s Rose is the hippest of them all!

Illahe Rose

A pale salmon pink, Illahe’s Rosé of Tempranillo features aromas of cherries followed by equally as delicious notes of strawberry, dry flowers and spice on the palate. Balancing the delicate flavors, the wine pinched the cheeks with nice citrus on the finish and tantalizing acidity.

Illahe Vineyards (pronounced Ill-Uh-Hee) is located in Dallas, Oregon and open Thursday to Saturday, 11am-4pm or by appointment.