One of the best ways to get tips on smaller producers when touring a wine making region is to ask the people in the tasting rooms. Most folks are generally excited to share their favorites with you. Often they're places you may have missed or overlooked. Sometimes they're not even listed on the map. A couple of people suggested I seek out Stony Mountain Vineyard in McMinnville. Never one to shy away from needing an appointment, I secured one for early this morning.
9:00 AM was the scheduled time. Perhaps more appropriate for coffee than wine, but you have to go when they're available, especially at smaller places that are often 1 or 2 person operations.
Stan Murayama the owner and Winemaker met me out front and walked me into the barrel room to taste. A lovely guy to speak with Stan shared some information about his operation.
300 Cases. That's his average annual production. There's small and then there's tiny. So right away you know these wines are cared for and coddled into the bottle.
Stan makes an Estate Pinot Noir and an Estate Reserve each year. I tasted both the 2003 & 2004 Estate as well as the 2003 Estate Reserve. All three wines had a wonderful purity of fruit and true Pinot character. The 2003's definitely benefit from their additional year in bottle. The 2004 tastes very good now but my suspicion is that it will be that much better in another year. I put the question to Stan and he agreed that in another year the Reserve will be even better than it is now. In fact he suggested it should be perfect by around Easter.
Having spent close to a week in Oregon tasting wine at this point I have run across the spectrum of quality and price. Over 30 wineries into my trip I have to report that Stony Mountain Vineyard wines are well within my Sweet Spot. Stan is producing tremendously exciting Pinot Noirs that are priced very fairly. In fact they're a bit of a steal.
With only 300 cases a year they're only sold locally or directly from the winery. If you like excellent Pinot Noir check them out.
It was close to 10:00 AM when I left, time for something else for breakfast.