TNs: A Couple of 2016 Oregon Pinots (Franny Beck & Haden Fig)

Sent some good vibes out to the folks of Oregon this weekend and checked in a couple of rando pinots I have accumulated as I learn more about Orgeon pinot. Still learning, and from what I am told, these wines are very '16. I enjoyed them, while they did push my comfort zone in terms of really ripe fruit.

  • 2016 Haden Fig Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (9/14/2020)
    This showed a little more balance next to the Franny Beck. Still a ripe red fruit nose, some baking spice, but the palate has a bit more lift and energy with a more obvious acidity. Again, easy to drink, entirely approachable, and nice enough to sit with for a couple hours.
  • 2016 Franny Beck Pinot Noir Johan Vineyards - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (9/13/2020)
    This is a well-made wine that just pushed my comfort level a bit in terms ripe and forward fruit. There’s a dark cherry, almost kirsch liquor nose, very ripe. Palate is integrated and easy drinking. I could see this being a crowd pleaser. I agree with the comment below on CT about round, ripe, fruit, but falling a bit flat in the middle. Felt very new world to me.

Posted from CellarTracker

What temperature were they served? I prefer riper reds around 60-65 degrees.

Me too. Especially when the temp hits 90 most days lately. They were definitely served on the cool side, cooler than most would probably like.

I’ve had a hard time embracing 2014 - 2016. Ripe vintages. Very selective buying: Goodfellow; Patricia Green; Vincent, Crowley, Cameron. Maybe 1.5 cases worth total. I’ll probably buy some Belle Pente. Expect them to be, on average, considerably riper than 2010, 2011 and 2017.


Richard - Thanks for the follow up. These bottles were one-offs that I sourced to try our prior to my realizing that '16 might not be a vintage to my liking. I did stock up on some of the other producers you mention and look forward to getting into them more this fall. [cheers.gif]

Dennis, over the past few hot vintages, producers (those focused on the task) keep improving their ability to find “restraint” in hot vintages. The days of embracing brix seem to be fading (or at least I hope so). It’s definitely an art and there are limits. Despite any pessimism about warm vintages, OR Pinot continues to offer the best value of any region IMHO…year in and year out.


Hey Dennis, just saw your note. Pretty good recognition of what we saw in the ‘16 vintage. Definitely crowd pleaser wines. With our Johan fruit (and La Chenaie), we were moving along on pace with the previous vintage. Sugars and flavors seemed to be moving in the direction I wanted, no real disease pressure, pretty pleased with where the vineyards stood.

Armstrong vineyard was already in the winery, almost finished fermenting. I remember we were hanging right around 21.5 Brix at Johan and looking to really hone in on a good pick date when we had some warm East winds come in resulting in a quick Brix spike. There was some berry shriveling from the warm wind that really concentrated the fruit. Couldn’t get the fruit in fast enough. The resulting wine from those two vineyards definitely reflect that concentration. In retrospect, I would have added some water back in the fermenter to replace what was lost in the matter of a few days on the vine. I’d say I’ve become a little more flexible with things like that since then.

Those were definitely the most concentrated wines I’ve made, but they do tell the story of that vintage and for me, thats pretty important. 2016 was not 2010, but heck it wasn’t 2015 either. Happy to send you some other vintages that might give you a better sense of what I’m trying to convey in my winemaking.

Michael- Thanks for chiming in with additional information. Helps with my own edification regarding vintages and your style. I have a '17 still that I look forward to checking out in time. [cheers.gif]

I still believe 2016 is as good a vintage as I have seen. Wines have super bright and crunchy fruit while still being concentrated and focused. 2018 is close but I think side by side 16 v. 18 bottlings more of the former would get the nod. That being said I am better at what I do each year, had better stuff in 18 and a far better harvest crew. Hard to go wrong either way but there is just a thing about the 16s I have always enjoyed.

Very cool. The ‘17s are definitely a very different animal. Look forward to seeing your response.