Today’s Story: The Eyrie Vineyards
The Eyrie Vineyards is a highly-regarded and family-owned winery in the Dundee Hills AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It was established in 1965 by David Lett and his wife Diana, shortly after David graduated from UC Davis with a degree in viticulture and enology. David planted 3,000 vinifera grape cuttings he acquired from UC Davis and select growers, and he was the first ever to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley and the first in the US to plant Pinot Gris. Since he planted these cuttings in a temporary nursery plot, David began the search for his own vineyard land and settled on 20 acres at the south end of the Dundee Hills in 1966. Late that year David and Diana cleared the land and moved their cuttings from the temporary nursery, ultimately producing their first vintage in 1970.
Winemaking at The Eyrie Vineyards is rather traditional, rooted in David’s original belief that the Willamette Valley could produce wines to compete with Burgundy. Fermentation is accomplished using only native yeasts for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and it proceeds naturally and slowly without the use of artificial temperature control. The Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, however, are inoculated with a yeast strain from their own vineyards. In barrel (which are very minimal percentages of new oak), the wines experience minimal racking, extended lees contact, and full and natural malolactic fermentation. The wines are also never fined but slightly filtered, and minimal if any sulfur is added.
Today The Eyrie Vineyards consists of five separate vineyard holdings, and they are all certified organic. Since 2005, second generation Jason Lett has been proprietor and winemaker while he carries on the philosophies of his father David before him. To learn more or view the source of the information above, please visit the Eyrie Vineyards website here.
Today’s Wine: 2017 Trousseau
100% Trousseau; 11.5% ABV
The 2017 Trousseau is pale ruby in color with garnet hues. Given some time to open up in the glass, the aromas are of pronounced intensity and the nose showcases notes of cranberry, tart cherry, spiced red plum, lavender, barnyard, fennel, mushroom, green bell pepper, and pine. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium (+) intensity, with the palate displaying notes of pomegranate, ripe red cherry, tart crunchy cranberry, red licorice, graphite, charred green herbs, moss, and wet gravel. This dry red is light-bodied with high acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish.
Price: $33. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this wine, but I was blown away by the complexity and intensity. The balance is outstanding as well, and this is well worth the price.