Luxurious but Terroir-Driven Oregon Pinot Noir

Today’s Story: North Valley Vineyards (Soter Vineyards)

North Valley Vineyards is a partnership between Tony & Michelle Soter, winemaker James Cahill, and Director of Sales & Marketing Brian Sypher. Though the wines are produced and bottled by Soter Vineyards, North Valley Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rosé are in a sense the “regional” wines coming from sustainably-farmed vineyards in the Willamette Valley rather than Mineral Springs Ranch, Soter’s estate vineyard. Diving a bit deeper, the team sources their fruit from the Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carolton, and McMinnville viticultural areas with vineyards including Roe & Roe, Beacon Hill, Momtazi, and Zena Crown. Though Tony and James are highly involved in the farming of these vineyards (affectionately referred to as “satellite estate vineyards”) and they could certainly yield exceptional single vineyard bottlings, North Valley Vineyards carefully blends the wines from each site into the finished product. Tony and James produce their North Valley wines with gentle, traditional winemaking practices and age them in French oak typically only 5-15% new.

Today’s Wine: 2017 North Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir; 13.8% ABV

The 2017 North Valley Reserve Pinot Noir is moderately opaque pale ruby/purple in color. This needs an hour to breathe, but once it does the nose showcases aromas of black cherry, dried blueberry, blood orange peel, leather, rocky soil, wet slate, pine, and cola. There is some slight heat but I think it’s due to the young age. On the palate, I get notes of black raspberry, baked cherry, juicy blackberry, blue florals, silt, mushroom, eucalyptus, allspice, and stony mineral. This is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $60 from the winery (though I paid $42 retail). I think this is somewhere between fairly priced and a good value at $60, but if you can find a deal like I did it is an absolute steal. This has all the characteristics of great Oregon Pinot Noir and, while it has that luxurious feel to it, doesn’t seem too heavy handed by the winemaker. Pair with duck breast, herb roasted pork, or dark chocolate.

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