2016 Notorious Pinot Noir Magnum
This is what we consider on a year-in, year-out basis our most unique and exotic wine. This is, as always, our only wine that is made in 100% new Cadus barrels. This wine is a textural experience beyond any of our other wines. Rather than attempting to show, in pain-staking detail, the individual qualities of the vineyards we work with the Notorious bottling is about a particular style of wine that is richer, more intense, denser in texture and more lifted aromatically than our other bottlings.
In 2016 the eight selected barrels come from Balcombe Vineyard (2 barrels of Pommard planted in 1990 and fermented with 20% whole cluster and 60% whole cluster from Blocks 1A and 1B), Durant Vineyard-Bishop Block (1 barrel from 44 year old Pommard clone vines and fermented with 20% whole clusters) and the vineyard we moniker as Mysterious (a 1990 planting of Pommard done with 20% whole clusters). All three of these vineyards are planted in the Dundee Hills. 3 total barrels from Freedom Hill Vineyard (2 barrels from the Dijon 115 sections that were done with 50% and 100%whole cluster fermentations and 1 barrel from the Coury Clone block was done with 35% whole cluster). Freedom Hill Vineyard is located just outside of the Eola-Amity Hills. Lastly a barrel from the Lakeview Block in our Estate Vineyard was used (a 1997 planting of Pommard on the south slope of the hillside and done completely de-stemmed) to round out the blend.
This is, as you would expect, exceptional stuff born of great vineyards in an exceptional vintage. We really enjoyed working out the blend here and are incredibly pleased with the combination of dark, structure-oriented barrels with the highly textured and aromatically complex barrels. This is as fine an effort as we have ever come up with for this unique bottling. The last eight vintages (2007-2015-there was no 2013 bottling) of our Notorious bottling have received scores of 94, 93, 94, 93, 94, 95, 94 and 94 from The International Wine Cellar/Vinous.com.
The capacity of this wine to absorb and integrate the new barrels into the fruit flavor and structure of the wine is one of the aspects of this wine that makes it stand out in a certain way beyond our other wines. Wines need depth of flavor and structure to take the 100% new barrel regimen even when the barrels are of the nature that we use which, in general, are a lighter touch than many other cooperages. Still, the spice and structural component in the barrel will be found in the wine, especially at a younger age. In 2016 the wines are nervy and intense with savory fruits, terrific acid levels and tremendous structural components. In short, perfect wines to find Notorious level stuff for. This is the most diverse (and I believe the largest bottling) of this since 2006 (!) and the wine is incredibly well-served for it. Five different sites contribute at least a barrel to the mix and while Freedom Hill makes up 3/8ths of the wine a trio of Dundee Hill sites makes up 50% of the bottling. This wine has pizazz, exuberance, hedonistic levels of basically everything good about Oregon Pinot Noir all while still being balanced, refreshing and varietally correct. The oak is present but deft and will eventually drop to the background and serve only as a framing element. This wine is built to be great, comes from the best of the best sources and delivers every single vintage. To date the oldest versions of this bottling (2000 and 2001) are still drinking very well and are surprisingly youthful. Yes, this is an esoteric wine in the sense of how it is made, how it differs from all our other wines and that it is frequently our top wine of any given vintage despite being a blend rather than from a single vineyard. That is a bit of the fun of this bottling to go along with the pure deliciousness of the wine.