2018 Notorious Pinot Noir
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 2018 the eight selected barrels come from Balcombe Vineyard (4 barrels of Pommard planted in 1990 and fermented with 0%, 33% and 60% whole cluster from Blocks 1A, 1B and 2B), Estate Vineyard (2 barrels, 1 each from a 1990 planting of Pommard done with 50% whole clusters and from a 2001 planting of Dijon 114 from the Etzel Block done with 50% whole cluster ) and the vineyard we moniker as Mysterious (2 barrels, 1 each from a 1990 planting of Pommard done with 0% whole clusters and 100% whole cluster). These are all incredibly well farmed vineyard with 3 organic sites representing totality of fruit.
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 2018 the wines are concentrated, strong, deeply pigmented, quite heavily structured and have plenty of acidity to handle both the fruit and tannin load. In short, wines balanced at a difficult point (high up on the balancing pyramid) but because of this precision they are unique wines that will reward the patient. This is a perfect environment to find barrels that honor the character and quality this bottling has historically delivered and producing a wine that should be a benchmark bottling even within the context of a wine routinely rated as one of the top Pinot Noirs produced in Oregon. The three different sites contribute at least two barrels apiece to the mix and a diverse selection of whole cluster fermentation regimens provides an element of complexity within the blending process. This wine is intended to show the exotic places Pinot Noir can go to and still be immediately identifiable as Pinot Noir. The stable of vineyards we work with is unmatched in the state of Oregon and we select only the barrels that instantly say Notorious to us in our tastings.
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.