TN: 2015 Kelley Fox "Ahurani" - something different

I love the wines of Ken Pahlow, Jim Anderson, Todd Hamina, Marcus Goodfellow, Josh Bergstrom, and others. Thank you gentlemen! But this place has become a bit of an echo chamber among those who post about Oregon wines. So, tonight I searched the cellar for something interesting and different. Intrigued by the recent postings regarding comparisons of 2014/15/16, I looked to those areas of my cellar, but gently returned my bottles from them to their racks in search of something different, and decided to revisit Kelley Fox. Always a light touch, I wondered what her take on 2015 would be like. I admit that I have not liked her earlier bottlings from Momtazi - a little unbalanced and, well, crazy for my taste. But her new Momtazi bottling, the Ahurani (named after “the Persian goddess of water and well-being” - so quintessentially Kelley) was fabulous.

  • 2015 Kelley Fox Wines Pinot Noir Ahurani - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, McMinnville (11/1/2017)
    This wine offers crazy QPR and a different perspective on Oregon pinot. A nose of light cherry, tea, spice and orange peel, and a mouthful of delicate, dark fruit and a little rosewater. Perfectly balanced with wispy tannins. This drinks wonderfully right now. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

I invite other consumer/collectors here to spend some time before Thanksgiving to post notes about new gems and producers outside the core group we interact with here. Scott T - any Ayoub’s you care to add? Ron F or Richard T- please enlighten me!

Ryan, great note. I have a few bottles of this, but have yet to crack one.

Agree that the OR praise on this board is overwhelmingly limited to a handful of producers (but Bergstrom?? - don’t recall seeing them discussed here, and have yet to try a wine of his that moved me). I do think Kelley gets plenty of love here, but not as much as she deserves.

I appreciate your challenge to drink other OR producers who are under represented on this board. I don’t own any Ayoub, but will try to dig out this month some producers that deserve more love - J Christopher, Crowley, Westrey, Arterberry Maresh, Johan.

I’ve held off drinking the '15, but the '14s are pretty well depleted, so willing to give them a try. Let the games begin. [snort.gif]

Ryan, calling the Board’s support of virtually any Oregon producer an “echo chamber” is a little over the top, no? Kind of like saying some jazz musician is overrated.

I like Marcus Goodfellow’s wines - in fact, I have probably posted on the board previously that I found his 2014 Richard’s Cuvée to be one of the best new world Chardonnays I’ve had in years. All that said, if you go to CT you will see that there is a sum total of 110 bottles currently owned - less than 10 cases. :astonished:

So while I understand your point, let’s not kid ourselves - there is an immense number of wine buyers who remain totally clueless about any wines made north of the California state line.

I think there are very, very few posts on any Oregon wines/wineries here. If you take out the 2007 thread (pops up less than it used to but still does) which is really more a tribute page to Bob Wood, the Goodfellow thread and the occasional trip report there are virtually no posting notes on Oregon wines. There are more Rhys tasting notes posted here than all of Oregon combined. That’s fine. It happens in Cellarttracker as well. Wines of comparable case productions that both sell out in quick fashion from a popular CA producer vs. a popular OR producer the former will most times generate far, far more CT posts than the latter. While nearly all publicity is good I think it is not the worst thing that OR wines and the apparent majority of the customer base rolls this way. So, if it’s an echo chamber for certain OR producers here (glad to be listed) it is only because the space is vast and there is precious little filling it up.

I consider myself more of a parrot, a sheep, or a kiss-ass than an echo. That hurts.

Jim, I agree wholeheartedly, which is why I was trying to encourage those of us here who love (!) OPN to post a little more, and exchange notes about the wines we hold so the Rhys-crazed masses might be tempted north of the border. Because you, Todd, Marcus, etc. contribute a lot here, we tend to post more about your wines, and in a deservedly positive way. But because producers are often hesitant to post on other’s wines, it falls to the rest of us to do that and fill up the space with interesting notes about the full group of producers and growers.


Not knowing what types of Oregon wines you prefer, and whether you’re looking exclusively for tips on pinot noir in particular, it’s hard for me to make recommendations. But here are my favorites.

I am admittedly focused on a pretty small subset of producers who produce balanced wines with limited oak influence at reasonable prices (put another way, the winemakers who make “big” wines for my cellar may seem AFWE relative to many other Oregon wineries). I don’t chase trophy wines (yes, even in Oregon there are some of those). These names may not be new or cool enough, but here goes. I recognize the type of year will dictate how full bodied a wine can be, but from tasting the following winemakers repeatedly I would characterize them as follows:

fuller bodied: PGC, J. Christopher, Day, Ayres, Belle Pente (in warm years)

mid bodied: Evesham Wood, Westrey, Cameron, DDO, Biggio Hamina, Vincent, Johan, Arterberry Maresh, Belle Pente (non-warm years), Walter Scott, McKinlay

AFWE: Goodfellow/Matello, Brick House, Eyrie, J.K. Carriere, Teutonic, Bow and Arrow, Helioterra, Biggio Hamina (in cool years)

Others may see it differently. Cheers.

I think as a producer it’s hard to post on a peers wine. Heck, I’m mainly in the cycling thread.

That said I opened a 61 Lynch Bages a couple weeks ago that was stupid good.


Ryan – Belated welcome to Wine Berserkers and thank you for the Kelly Fox note.

While I don’t subscribe to the echo chamber notion, the concept of posting notes on Oregon wines/winemakers that don’t get much attention is certainly worthwhile. I’ll play.

2011 Monks Gate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Yamhill Carlton AVA): Rich Burgundy red, with an overtly red fruited nose tending to the red raspberry/strawberry end of the spectrum. The red fruit follows on a slightly austere palate, with the start of secondary tea and mushroom flavor components. Tasty; however, a bit hollow in the mid palate. Lingering finish with fine dusty tannins. Overall, a tasty accompaniment to chicken and wild rice soup on an evening that got dark far too early.

I try to do my part, but getting older I do not/can not drink like I used to. Been out in the wilderness of the AFWE camp, but starting to enjoy some fruit these days. A bit of both siderism. Gee, I may come to like Syrah again. [wow.gif] There are some OR Syrahs that I find quite enjoyable though they are on the restrained OR style. [snort.gif]

Opened the 2015 Kelley Fox Maresh Pinot last night. Always excited to see these arrive on the doorstep.

Dusty ruby. Quite a bit darker than the 2013 in color but with the same translucence (unlike the 2014 which, IIRC, did not have that seductive transparency). First night it was pretty tight so recorked and refrigerated. Today, this has quite an effusive strawberry bouquet, along with a good dash of bitter herbs. On the palate, the herbal element provides a nice counterpoint to the strawberry fruit. While the nose skews sweet, the palate skews savory with lots of piney notes underpinning the fruit. Some drying tannins on the finish. A very enjoyable wine but I have no clue how it will develop. Personally, I’d be happy if some of the stemminess integrated a bit more but, irregardless, this is a wine that makes all seem right with the world on an autumnal Monday night. Thank you, Kelley.

As a some what newbie berserker here I love hearing the discussion and excitement over OR wines. Living in Santa Cruz Mountains I have learned to appreciate what cooler mountain terrain can inflect on the wine. But I knew so little about OR producers, but I’ve learned a bit thanks to the folks here. So far PGC, Vincent, Goodfellow, & most recently Cameron have all been well received. The value is certainly there too especially when California pricing is the baseline. Without the lively discussion I would have never found these producers. Thanks Ron for throwing your list out there. Please keep it up and keep preaching the gospel of great OR wines. So far all the great recs here are on the annual buy list. 3 cases of OR pinot and chardonnay coming this week. [cheers.gif]

Guess I need to try some Kelley Fox

Sean Smith
Los Gatos, CA

I better get some of this. Mike Pobega got my attention with his TN of the '13 Mirabai. I’m a believer! [cheers.gif]

Who makes Bergstrom’s corks? Those things are like sausages.

Johsonville [snort.gif]

Regarding the echo chamber, I think it’s fair to feel like this board can seem like a big 'ol pro-Oregon circle jerk at times. The biggest slight on Oregon wine I remember in recent history was the 88 point score on the Ayoub '11 Brittan recently. I’ll lay it out like Parker on '82 Bordeaux though and say some of the finest wines ever from Oregon will come from 2011, and I bet that Ayoub will be amazing in a decade or two. Maybe the lack of postings on this board regarding Oregon wines/wineries reflect the poor nationwide availability of Oregon wine, and Portland isn’t as great a city as San Fran, so less people visit Dundee than Napa or Sonoma.

I’d love to know what percent of Oregon wines are consumed in state vs outside of Oregon. For those of us drinking wine here in Oregon, we’re mostly probably just not classy enough to post tasting notes. Or even read about wine. Or perhaps even know how to read. Hell, I just used circle jerk in comment made here on the most elite wine discussion board known to man.

That’s laying it out, alright. It could hinge on what the meaning of ‘some’ is. champagne.gif It’s still too soon; however, in general as of now, I wouldn’t put 2011 above 2002 or 2005. Others here are better qualified than I to comment on earlier years (before 2000).

Count me in as another fan of OPN. If I could write a decent note, I would. I have quite a few OPNs in my cellar and in September I was able to purchase some from 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 as well as more current vintages.

It will be great fun sitting down with friends and tasting broken verticals and wine with 5 - 10 years age on them. I have very little experience with Oregon PN so it will be a learning experience for me.

The wines with a little age on them came from several producers who were willing to open their libraries for me just a little. Among them 1789, De Ponte, Domaine Serene, Winderlea, Ayoub, Le Cadeau, Et Fille, Privé, Johan, and Lenné.