Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Patience rewarded: 2006 Westrey Pinot Noir "Willamette Valley"

Tonight was exhibit "A" of why I have this little room in my basement filled with way too much wine. And when I say "way too much" I mean "just enough". Nothings better than going downstairs and having choices, especially when very few of them are the wrong one!

The 2006 Oregon vintage was dry and off-the charts hot which led to an early harvest of grapes bursting with sugars but sometimes lacking in overall maturity. This in turn leads to wines with high alcohol and out of balance ripeness. A few winemakers solved this problem by turning on the water hose into the fermenters to try and bring down the alcohols and level out the sugars. Before you act all shocked this is a tried and true method used by generations of winemakers. Not that I condone this kind of manipulation, but it is what it is. I have no idea what happened at Westrey in 2006, but whatever happened was all to the good, because tonight's wine was a killer.

Speaking of tried and true, nothing is a better match than local wild caught salmon off the grill and Oregon pinot noir. The oils & fat of the salmon play so well with the bright acids and high toned fruit inherent in pinot noir. Burgundian pinot is too high toned and subtle, Cali pinot is just too damn ripe. Oregon pinot is simply spot on. So it is with this '06 Westrey Wine Co. "Willamette Valley" bottling which is in the zone as far as drinkability. A bit tight and closed on the nose initially, it soon opened up with beautiful strawberry and spice filled fruit. Richly textured from the heat of '06, but still smelling, tasting, and feeling incredibly delicious. Layered and full on the palate, yet retaining the velvety elegance that makes pinot so sensually pleasing. I'm an hour and a half into the bottle, sadly nearing the end, and it is better than ever. Plums, cumin, earth, raspberry. So good. If you have 2006 pinots from reputable producers, and David Autrey and Amy Wesselman of Westrey are most assuredly of that ilk, pop those corks because the time is now!