Adelsheim Vineyard - 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is unquestionably the varietal that the Willamette Valley in Oregon is best known for. The relatively cool region approximates Burgundy and makes it possible for vintners to do impressive things with this famously finicky grape. Adelsheim Vineyard makes several Pinot Noirs. The one I'm looking at today is their most widely available Pinot Noir offering. I'd venture to guess it's also the bottling they're best known for. The 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Adelsheim Vineyard was produced from 75% Estate Fruit. The other 25% was from 9 other vineyards in the Willamette Valley. 24% of the barrels used were new with the remainder varying in age from one to three years old. Just under 16,000 cases of this Pinot Noir were produced and the suggested retail price is $31. A quick look at wine-searcher shows it can generally be located for closer to $25.

Fresh wild strawberries, rhubarb and light vanilla notes fill the nose of this offering. Earthiness, nutmeg spice and more prominent vanilla fill the mid-palate. Bing cherry and strawberry star throughout. As it should be, the fruit is the feature attraction here. Oak is present but integrated and well in check as part of an overall package, not a distraction. The finish is long, layered, persistent and full of earth, mushroom and nutmeg notes. This wine is impeccably balanced with good acidity. The 2006 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir will be and excellent match for a varying array of foods. A terrific choice when everyone at dinner has very different meals in front of them.

What I like best about this selection is that it's marvelously typical of the kind of well crafted, varietally correct and pure Pinot Noir often emerging from the Willamette Valley. Considering it's widely available in the mid $20's this is an excellent deal on a lovely wine.

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