TN: A Couple Older Oregon Pinots

We went over to some friends last night, and these two wines stood out for different reasons:

  • 2002 Ana Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (4/17/2010)
    Dark garnet color, no bricking. On the nose, the wine showed black cherry, cherry, and a hint of cranberry. On the palate, the wine displayed concentrated black cherry flavors with the sweeter cherry flavors that are indicative of the Dundee Hills showing through at the mid-palate and finish. Still a little tight, with some very fine tannins, and just a hint of brine. Long finish. Great now, but I’d like to try in a couple of years. (91 pts.)
  • 2000 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Mark Bradford - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (4/17/2010)
    The fruit in this has diminished to the point where the oak totally dominates both the aroma and palate. Disappointing. (74 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

And completely predictable

That’s too bad. I had the 2000 Mark Bradford many years ago and it was epic.

Rich, I remember having a 1999 Mark Bradford at IPNC in 2002 that was a dead ringer for the Grand Cru Burgundy that we had with it. I’m leery of just about any Pinot that sees 100% new oak.


I agree with that about 95% of the time, but DRC and Leroy and a couple of others have had the occasional success with 100% new oak [stirthepothal.gif]

Oak isn’t generally the problem. And Bob must have been picked on by trees when he was a kid - so he hates oak. I think the problem is more the vintage - 2000’s didn’t last. IMHO.

I had an 01 Chehalem Rion Reserve this week that was drinking beautifully - but it was a much better vintage. (I’ve gotten slack on posting on the older ones I keep drinking - sorry about that - unfortunately if I finish the bottle I’m not the most coherent note-writer.)

I keep telling folks: 2000 = mini-1998; 2001 = mini-1999. 2001’s are just much better strctured wines. Better food wines. Last longer. With rare exceptions, 2000’s were never better than the day they were bottled.

I said from the day I tasted my first 2001s that the 2000s would drink sooner. That said, 100% new oak in Oregon is definitely a problem for my palate, especially in early-drinking vintages like 2000, and I’m far from alone in that assessment. I don’t mind new oak - I just have an upper limit of somewhere around 30-40%, and that’s on fruit that will soak it up.

Josh, in spite of Domaine Serene’s tremendous resources, they don’t have their own oak forest to draw from like DRC does, and I doubt they weather their staves a long as DRC does. Just saying that all barrels are not the same.

While I’ve had a few clunkers from 2000, I was just very surprised how much this wine had fallen apart - from Cellar Tracker it looks like this was going fine a couple of years ago. In my limited experience with very oaky wines, they usually start oaky and come into balance. This wine seems to have started out much better and fallen out of balance. I just haven’t seen that before, especially to the degree that this wine had. It smelled and tasted like a 2X4.

But at this point it is difficult to say that there is anything wrong with anything from 2000 than that it is over the hill. I was finishing mine up in 06 & 07 - there was just not much left - it was clear where they were headed. I didn’t even save a Beaux Freres. I might have Panther Creek Freedom Hill still. But to finger oak as the problem is a stretch. Occam’s Razor, no?

I was just playing devil’s advocate :wink: I am rarely a fan of lots of oak but it certainly does have it’s place and sometimes 100% is the right amount - the wine holds it well and it accentuates rather than dominates. But 100% new being the right amount (for my tastes) is a rare occurrence I will admit!

I’m all for new oak in Pinot when it adds that “je ne sais quoi”. It gets in the way, so much more than not IMHO, that appreciable skill ( or luck) is essential. Is there any end to DRC wannabees?