I was assigned the wines from Et Fille, an Oregon producer in the Willamette Valley. This is a winery that was founded in 2003, and while I have tried the wines a couple of times, it has been a few years, so I was happy to get a more recent take on these two bottlings. I opened both wines about an hour before serving but did not decant, as we were going to try them throughout the evening and I wanted to see how they would perform out of the bottle like most consumers would drink them. I was going to pair them with salmon, but our local store didn’t have anything wild and fresh, so I decided to get some local Carlton Farms bone-in rib chops instead, and dusted them with Tom Douglas’ Rub With Love, which is good on salmon, but also nice with pork. Kathryn also sautéed some apples in butter and thyme for a side dish. We wanted to test these wines with food as well as on their own. Both were tasted in Grassl Cru glasses.
2017 Et Fille, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley – Pommard, Wadensvil and 777 from a number of vineyards on different soils, 13.6% listed alcohol, 3.69ph, 5.4 TA and aged in 17% new oak as well as 42% one year old barrels. $28 list price. A very nice nose, with juicy cherry/berry fruit, cinnamon/clove, and some oak spice and maybe a whiff of anise/fennel. With airing a light earthy note comes in, too, which adds a nice complexity. On the palate, a nice burst of cherry/berry fruit, juicy and forward but nicely balanced, with spice/clove, earth and anise. This feels like there’s a little more acid here, probably a combination of vintage and winemaking style. This also made it work surprisingly well with the sautéed apples. Probably best over the next 3-5 years, but it could surprise.
2018 Et Fille, Pinot Noir, Kalita Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton – Pommard and Wadensvil on marine sedimentary soils, 13.9% listed alcohol, 3.69ph, 5.4 TA and aged in 33% new oak and 33% one year barrels. $60 list price. The aromas here are more on the darker fruit spectrum, with boysenberry, cherry and raspberry fruit, just bordering on jammy, but not overripe. Darker (for OR) boysenberry and plum fruit on the palate, definitely a bit toastier and richer, and while the listed ph and TA are the same, this feels bulkier and more intense, but also a bit less lithe on the palate. While equally good with the pork, the tangy apples bring out a light whiskey barrel note on the palate. As the wine opens over a few hours, the richness and toast come out a bit more. This seems a bit young now, and should be better and more integrated with some bottle age, but I’d still be tempted to drink within the next 4-8 years.
My favorite was the 2017 Willamette Valley. While my palate definitely leans towards more pretty, transparent OR wines, we sometimes get questions here on WB like “What OR Pinot should I buy if I like CA style Pinots?” I think these would be be good candidates for those members who want something with more “oomph” but that still tastes like Oregon. These two Et Fille wines aren’t as pure, pretty and transparent as Goodfellow, Vincent, or Walter Scott. But they are flavorful and still maintain balance, something that can’t always be said about some of the “bigger” OR Pinots, both in size and name . And Kathryn, who loves wine but isn’t a studied “geek,” liked them even more than I did. Give them a try if you find many of the board favorite OR Pinots a bit on the lighter side for your palate.