TNs (this afternoon) - Durant Vineyard

Having some folks over this afternoon to do a little exploration of the Durant Vineyard, so I’m opening this topic as a repository for any eventual TNs to follow. We are doing both Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, as follows:

Morgen Long 2020 Durant Chardonnay

Kelley Fox 2019 & 2018 Durant Chardonnay

Patricia Green 2019, 2018 & 2017 Durant Chardonnay

Goodfellow 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2014 Durant Chardonnay

Patricia Green 2015, 2013 and 2012 Durant Madrone Block Pinot Noir

I also have a couple extra Pinots ready to go in case we’re still thirsty after the Madrones :sunglasses:.

We did end up opening a 2014 PGC Bishop Block Pinot (which according to the map Jim Anderson forwarded to me, looks like the oldest planted section of the overall Durant Vineyard, with Pommard clones dating back to 1984) and a 2013 Goodfellow Durant Pinot Noir .

Definitely looking forward to comparing the 2019 and 2018 Chardonnays across all three producers - all of them get grapes from the two southernmost blocks in the Durant Vineyard (Lark and Raven, which are both planted with the Dijon 76 clone). Kelly’s Chardonnay is all Lark, but both Jim and Marcus also get some grapes from the Southside Block further up the hill, which is planted to the Dijon 95 clone (although I think Marcus said that the 2014 Durant is all Lark).

For the Madrone mini-vertical, Jim told me that these vintages are three of the first four years he worked with fruit from Madrone and they were done with minimal or no whole cluster fruit.

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Looks like fun!

:popcorn: Anticipation

Nice Bob!

Looking forward to your thoughts

Best,

Todd

Okay, moving a little slow this morning :sunglasses:

So, all the wines we opened were unflawed, always a good start to a tasting. Two fellow Berserkers, Rich Trimpi and Jeff Vaughan, were also attendees, and while we exchanged a lot of commentary/discussion as we drank the wines, we never formally voted on “favorites”, so hopefully they will visit and share their thoughts. I also have a number of the wines still left, so I will try to revisit this discussion over the next day or two with specific thoughts on some of the wines as I revisit them.

For the Pinot Noirs, I think the two we had from the 2013 vintage stood out - I probably had a slight preference for Marcus’ wine, but at least IMO, both of the 2013’s were fresher and more structured than the Pinots from the other vintages. I probably liked the 2014 PGC Bishop Block best of the remaining wines, but it was the last wine of the night, so I didn’t spend a lot of time with it - clearly riper and bigger than the 2013’s, but pretty appealing as well. The 2012 Madrone was my least favorite of the Pinots - Rich Trimpi, who has forgotten more about Oregon Pinot than I will ever know, clearly felt this wine was marked by the vintage.

Our first wine of the afternoon was the Morgen Long, and I think we all liked it. I don’t have a lot of experience with Seth’s wines (I think this was only the 2nd one I’ve ever tried), but I do like the style, and I will continue to gladly drink Jeff’s stash when he brings them to dinners, etc.

I think in general we preferred the 2018 vintage to the 2019 - I definitely liked the PGC 2018 better than the ‘19, and also felt Marcus’ wine was better in '18 as well. Now whether that is simply the fact that the wines benefitted from an additional year of aging or a commentary on the quality of the two vintages at hand, hard to say.

THe 2014 Durant on opening was easily the most reductive wine of the day - luckily, with air, this dissipated fairly quickly, although if you don’t like reduction, this was still the wine most clearly marked by it.

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Thanks for the notes!

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Fun line up Bob!

A couple of notes:

The 2014 vintage was the first vintage where I pushed for a more reductive style. At this point the reduction really does blow off pretty quickly, we had a 2014 Richard’s Cuvee in NYC with Greg Kahn, and it folded in nicely after about 15 minutes. That said, I started dialing it back just a bit from that vintage and while we still see some reduction in the wines it’s not the “goes to 11” level that the 2014s were.

Second, we took Chardonnay fruit from the South Side block from 2017-2019, along with Lark or Raven. I prefer the Chardonnay from the foot of the hill and opted to focus on Lark and Raven after 2019(2020-21 it was Raven). Cool air pooling at the foot of the hill helps the fruit to retain acidity and it holds balance better than the upper planting(IMO).

Thanks again for posting this, I haven’t had the 2018 Durant in about a year so it’s nice to see a note!

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One should never doubt Bob’s generosity…happily popping open and sharing bottle after bottle. Quite the Durant exploration. No shortage of tasty apps and small plate fare prepared by his better half. Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Chard-wise. They were all unflawed and well made. None were overripe or marked by oak.

First, I was impressed by the 2020 Morgen Long. My initial experience with the producer after hearing lots of positive thoughts. Really lovely balance, brightness, citrus and chard character. Nice way to start.

The PGs had the least apparent acidity (no idea about real numbers) to my palate and also a bit leaner flavor/extraction wise. No reduction. I preferred the 2018 which struck me as a soft, clean and bright Maconnais wine.

The Kelley Fox Chards were quite bright. I preferred the 2018 which was more accessible and yellow fruited. The 2019 was tight and more about structured potential IMHO.

I’ve always been a fan of Marcus’s chards. The 2014’s prodigious sulfur aromas caught me by surprise. There’s a fine wine underneath it…somewhere. I commented about it needing a few minutes in a blender. Based on a later sniff from Bob’s glass…the matchstick seemed to fade after a couple of hours. Worth checking in on it again Day 2. The 2017, 2018 and 2019 were all very fine…with a bit more malo character (yet not remotely approaching the stereotypical buttery CA Chards of yore) in the 2019 compared to its same vintage peers. I slightly preferred the 2018…which struck me as generous and firing on all cylinders. I’d happily own all 3.

The PG Durant Madrone Pinot vertical was fun. The 2012 struck me as displaying a vintage typical resinous midpalate/finish. Pick of the flight was the 2013 with fine balance and extroverted red fruit. The 2015 was outside of my strike zone (vintage ripeness). Not a fan of the 2014…same reason.

The 2013 Goodfellow Durant Pinot was right back in my zone with more “there there”. Excellent flavor intensity, balance and restrained red fruit. Deceptively light colored as a reminder not to judge a book by its cover.

I’m still kind of puzzled how we ended up with a Durant focus…other than the serendipity of Bob’s buying habits. Still inclined to believe that vintage and producer make the biggest differences with OR Chards and Pinots…with “Place” coming in 3rd. That said, it seems like the Durant vineyard offers plenty of quality, as is true for quite a few Dundee Hill vineyards.

Fun afternoon. Thanks Bob!

RT

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While the wine tasting yesterday was great, that kind of an event is almost by definition more about socializing than truly focusing on the wines. So I’ve been sitting here today eating some heirloom tomato panzanella salad and revisiting a couple of the Chardonnays.

And while I still very much like the 2018 Goodfellow, it is apparent today that I did not spend nearly enough time with Marcus’ 2017 - this is fabulous. Jeff Vaughan yesterday commented about how certain of the wines reminded him of Chablis, and this wine has that in spades. Lightly reductive on the nose, with a sense of weightlessness on the palate, focus and clarity - just a wow wine on day 2. I will have to dig out a Richard’s Cuvee one of these days, because I honestly can’t conceive that that wine could show any better.

Currently sitting here with a glass of Jim’s 2017 - my recollection last night was that I ranked the PGC Chards with 2018 being the best, followed by the '17 - and this is a perfectly acceptable wine, but I put it in a pretty awkward position by having to follow that ethereal '17 from Marcus. Unfortunately, I can no longer compare it to Jim’s 2018, because we apparently killed all of that last night :sunglasses:

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What an awesome tasting. Thanks for the notes Bob and Richard!

Always fun and educational hanging with Bob and Rich. I wish I took better notes. I thought the Morgen Long (2020) was excellent. Loved the energy and brightness it showed. It was the only 2020 we had so it was a bit of an outlier, but a good start.

In comparing the 17, 18 and 19’s, I preferred the 18, followed by the 17 and 19. The 14 Goodfellow was interesting. It needed some air for sure, and once it saw it, it didn’t seem much older than the others.

For the Pinots, I preferred the 13 Patricia Green and 13 Goodfellow. I really enjoyed the Goodfellow. Lighter in color and body, but bright acidity and balanced.

Overall, I continue to be impressed with Oregon Chardonnay and all of the Goodfellow wines I have tried.

Here are a few notes:

  • 2014 Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay Durant Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills (8/28/2022)
    I don't recall having this vintage before, but I see that we drank a bottle about 5 and half years ago. When first opened, this was seriously reduced. That was surprising because we had this along with the 17, 18 and 19 vintages, and this was by far the most reduced of all of them. With air though, it opened up, still retaining some matchstick, but more in line with what you normally might find in the younger vintages. I'd be curious what this would be like on the second day, or with a good decanting. Anyway, after seeing some air, this was pretty tasty, and not noticeably any older than the others. If I had any of these, I might hide one somewhere and see what this would be like with some real age on it.

    The tasting included Durant wines from Patricia Green, Morgen Long and Kelley Fox. Drinking them side by side reaffirmed to me that Goodfellow does a really nice job with the grapes from this vineyard. I'll continue to buy these, for sure.
  • 2018 Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay Durant Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills (8/28/2022)
    Consumed at a Durant tasting along with Morgen Long, Kelley Fox and Patricia Green wines from mostly the 17, 18, and 19 vintages. This stuck out as one of my favorites due to the acidity, minerality, brightness and fruit leaning towards the citrusy side. Very good. Actually, all the Goodfellow wines were.
  • 2020 Morgen Long Chardonnay Durant - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills (8/28/2022)
    Mchern02's note describes this well. This was consumed first in a Durant tasting that included wines from Patricia Green, Goodfellow and Kelley Fox. It was the youngest of all of them and one of my favorites along with the 18 Goodfellow. Really reminded me of Chablis, which is a good thing for my tastes in Chardonnay. Delicious.
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Would have responded earlier but didn’t have my computer with me and I can’t seem to figure out how to have the screen scroll down when you type more than a handful of lines on the Iphone so I have basically given up on anything that would be more than 25-30 words worth of text if I don’t have my computer around. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

Anyway, I mentioned to Bob beforehand that this was an older/original set of Durant Madrone bottlings and that they would both be atypical of what is bottled now (starting with around 2017 or more likely 2018) and that Richard probably would not like these 3 wines :slightly_smiling_face:. 2012 was our first vintage with this block of Dijon 115 and a little bit of 114. We got it because the Bishop Block did not produce anything in 2012 due to an ill-timed hailstorm. These vines were planted in 2001. While I think overall the 2012 vintage is excellent and the wines will be long-lived not every wine was in that wheelhouse. I would say through the first 5-6 vintages these more youthful vines tended to produce a more fruit-laden/less-structured kind of wine. The fruit was especially plush in vintages like 2014, 2015 and 2012. Fans of that style really, really liked this wine. As the vines have matured, as the farming has gotten better there and we have decided on a different course of action in regards to picking and vinification, this wine has gotten more subtle if still staying in the Dundee Hills wheelhouse. The 2021 we just bottled is easily my favorite bottling of this block followed by the 2019 and 2018. I am quite certain if you did the exact same tasting and moved the wines up 6 vintages apiece the results would be quite different in terms of perception. Pretty sure we might just still be batting .333 with Richard though!

2017 was my 3rd Chardonnay vintage. Still learning. I think by 2018 and certainly 2019 and going forward I found a comfort zone with picking and process that I like a lot. I think the 2018 shows that and, I think Marcus would agree with me here, that while the 2018s are probably better wines now, the 2019s are just wound up. They were basically their whole time in barrel as well. They will come around and open.

Anyway, thanks to Bob for putting this on and being a terrific customer of 3 true blue Oregon wineries.

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Kind of like people talk “dry” and prefer “sweet”? They talk “restrained Pinot” and want “hedonistic”?

A true blue threesome indeed! At the current rate, Bob’s chard collection will rival Rick Allen’s.

RT

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It’s been a relatively small bottling for us; around 200 cases most years. We’ve never been shy about telling people what it is that this wine is (well, was). Pretty easy to find an audience for that style in that quantity. Things have changed. It’s different now.

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Hey, it’s good we don’t all like the same stuff - it’s hard enough buying things you like without having everyone else wanting it too.

So I was doing some day 2 drinking yesterday and having a glass of the 2014 Patricia Green Bishop Block Pinot Noir - and yes, the ripeness of the vintage will never make this a “Rich Trimpi” favorite. But the wine, while certainly large-scaled, remains balanced and as I said in my TN on Cellar Tracker, is probably a perfect match for a medium rare burger right off the grill. :hamburger: :wine_glass:

It’s awesome to see a Durant line up like that, and to see the vineyard on the board. And I am really happy to see that the Goodfellow wines showed well, but I kind of suspect that this line up could be redone tomorrow and come out a hundred different ways. Jim took one for the team with the 2014 and 2015 wines, they’re warm vintages for sure and I doubt Goodfellow Durant Pinot Noirs from those two vintages would fair any better with Rich than the PGC. The Durant Pinot Noirs we made from those years are 100% more “hedonistic” than typical for us.

I was at Russ Raney’s memorial yesterday, and thinking about what he, and John Paul at Cameron, meant to me. How important they were. To me they were the magnetic poles that kept the Willamette Valley wine industry balanced. They defined what I loved about the valley and the people in the industry. Patty and Jim were part of that as well as Steve Doerner, Dave Autrey, and Amy Wesselman.

But in the past 5-7 years, no one has influenced my work more than Kelley and Jim. I love what Seth is doing too, and talking in the cellar to Ben Casteel, or hanging out talking with Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon. John Grochau and Vincent as well, and Saul has produced some surprisingly good wines at Championship bottle. Not to damn him with faint praise in any way, it’s just that most people don’t achieve what he has done that quickly(no matter how much people talk about doing it…and no pressure at all Saul, you know harvest 2022 being right around the corner :wink: )

But no one else has the impact on my current growth that Jim or Kelley have. Jim and I both view what we do as record keeping, we’re trying to create a baseline of wines for people to see what different vineyards around the Valley can achieve. Putting the vineyard into the bottle is so much harder than people might think, both from not interfering with the expression of place, but also producing 30+ wines. And tasting and talking in the cellar with Jim is both insightful, educational, and delicious. We both have a lot of similar preferences in wines and tasting his 2019s I was blown away. He’d be perfect if he could only come to like good Pinot Gris(or at least taste it.)

Kelley makes some of the best wines in the Willamette Valley, and the connection that she has with her vineyards is extraordinary. I love the elegance of her wines, and envy how they always seem to be beautiful regardless of when they’re opened(not a Goodfellow trait). And knowing that every harvest Kelley is going to be producing something amazing is highly motivational this time of year. Though so is knowing that Jim will be coming through the cellar to taste sometime in the winter…

Other winemakers may feel differently, but this is definitely the best place in the world to be a winemaker.

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I’m sitting here with a glass of the 2019 Goodfellow Durant Chardonnay - this is such an understated wine. Blind, I’m pretty sure I would be in Chablis with my guess. For whatever reason, the 2019’s didn’t get a lot of raves from the crew, but today, 72 hours after the wine was originally opened, I am really enjoying this. Saline on the palate, and I have to wonder if we just caught the wine in a too early stage of it’s development.

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Oregon whites in 2019 are crazy good. Our Estate SB was excellent. The Chardonnay, I felt, was easily our best but was always really wrapped up in barrel. I’m sure Marcus’ Chardonnay, especially from Durant, would be even more so as he only gets the lower, cooler block and I get half that/half the fruit up on the hill that gets ripe earlier and to a greater degree.

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They were structured ! If only you’d opened them 2+ days prior to our arrival. :neener:

Kelly’s 2019 was particularly tight with some serious cut. A wine to cellar for a few years IMHO.

RT