12 Days of Oregon Pinot Noir – Day 1: Adelsheim (and the Day of the Ice Storm)
It’s day one of sampling twelve affordable, accessible Oregon Pinot Noirs. With one hand wrapped around the base of my Riedel Veritas Oregon Pinot Noir glass and the other typing the first in this ultra-fun twelve part series, I’m off to a truly incredible start. Adelsheim 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is the wine that is gracing my glass…and my palate. Bright red tangy fruit aromas and flavors of cranberries and pomegranate mingle seamlessly with inviting fall spices and hints of cedar and earth. Lush and full of fresh fruit characteristics, a solid backbone of vibrant acidity rounds out the fruit, giving it beautiful balance with a long succulent finish.
Although the most expensive of the twelve bottles in this case of affordable, accessible, “entry-level” Pinot Noirs, this $32 bottle of Pinot Noir could easily sell for $62 a bottle – but then it wouldn’t be so accessible. How ever did this wine become one of Adelsheim’s least expensive, highest production, earliest released Pinot Noirs? Adelsheim winemakers Dave Paige and Gina Hennen sum it up:
“The size and the diversity of the blend is a good prism through which to view the vintage. It’s a combination of the vintage year and the winemaker’s response. We treat each incoming batch of grapes as carefully as the next with a goal of highlighting and showcasing the unique character of each vineyard. The care we take is the same from wine to wine as we don’t know which lots will rise to the top each vintage year.”
Adelsheim is one of Oregon’s founding wineries and is located in a geologically diverse sub AVA of the Willamette Valley – the Chehalem Mountains. The vineyards here are rooted in soils that were formed by some of the most dramatic and tumultuous geological happenings in Oregon’s history – floods, winds, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions ultimately created the perfectly complex soils that now give life and character to Adelsheim’s opulent and thriving vines – and wines.
Ironically, as I sip this perfectly divine wine created in part by the wrath of Mother Nature, I grip onto my wine glass a little tighter each time Mother Nature’s wrath takes another tree top, tree limb or entire tree down to the ground with a crackle, crash and thunderous boom. I’m reminded with each sip that Mother Nature is clearly not yet finished with Oregon.