Over the last couple of days I stopped by a couple of local wineries to get a better gauge on 2008.
I tasted through all the Pinots at Westrey. All were excellent, with the Justice and the Willamette Valley being the most approachable right now. I know people tend to want SVD wines, but the Reserve Pinot is fantastic. I also tasted the two Chardonnays, and I loved them - both were an interesting blend of old Draper clone wine from Oracle and new Dijon clone wine from Justice. All the wines are great values.
I stopped by at Winderlea over the weekend and tasted both the 2007s and 2008s. I think this is one of the best vineyards in Oregon (formerly Goldschmidt), consistently producing outstanding wine in the hands of a number of winemakers, and nothing has changed - the wines are still great. Of the two 2007s we tasted, I preferred the Estate over the Reserve. Among the two 2008s, I thought that the Reserve was a step up from the regular. As I discuss below, this was a good opportunity to compare the more feminine 2007s with the more masculine 2008s.
I also stopped by Eyrie to see if they were pouring the 2008 yet. Nope, but they were pouring the 2008 Black Cap which was superb - well balanced with intense black cherry flavors. Jason released the 2006 Eyrie Reserve before releasing the 2005 Reserve, because the former wine was much more open for business. The 2006 is now gone so they poured the 2005 - great depth and concentration, very balanced, just superb from start to finish, but really tight - something to throw in the cellar and forget about for at least five years, and 10 years would be better.
My overall impression of 2008 from these wines and others I’ve had in the last couple of weeks is that many of the wines need serious aging before they’ll really hit their stride. They have real depth and concentration, but I don’t think I’d touch most of the higher end wines until 2015. The other thing I noticed is that all of the Dundee Hill wines I’ve tried are more “masculine” than I would typically expect. I usually expect Dundee Hills wines to have a strong sweet cherry component that strikes me as being more feminine. It is something that distinguishes Dundee Hills from other Oregon AVAs (and most other New World Pinots I’ve had). In 2008 this component is somewhat subdued, with the black cherry and other black fruit aromas and flavors coming more to the front.