Lange Estate has begun rolling out two of our 2008 Pinot Noir releases, the Pinot Noir “Willamette Valley” and the Pinot Noir “Reserve”, in select markets and expect to have all markets making placements with these wines within the next month. These wines are lush, fruit-forward, and possess excellent structure. The wines will offer immediate gratification to those who may be new to our brand, and please our loyal, long-time fans.
I’m still amazed at the perceptions of the 2007 vintage that I come across in the marketplace and often have to cajole prospective buyers to get our 07′s in their mouth. Yes it was a difficult vintage with lots of wet weather during critical ripening times, but the patience Don and Jesse Lange showed regarding harvesting the grapes after the rains passed, resulted in elegant, age-worthy wines that showcase the best Oregon can offer. Many critics and wine professionals are in agreement over the excellence of the 2007 vintage. Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate had this early take:
During my two week trip to Willamette Valley in July 2008 I was able to taste well over 100 barrel samples of the 2007 vintage. This was a considerably more challenging year for growers because of late September rains that forced picking decisions to be made. The fruit was in good condition before the predicted September 29 rains arrived but flavor development had not been fully achieved. Those who waited were rewarded by cool weather during which the grapes added on flavor but not sugar. Although there was never a clear window for picking, with some growers continuing to harvest well into October, the results were terrific. This was not immediately apparent but after malolactic fermentation was complete, almost everyone was thrilled with what they achieved. These wines will be lower in alcohol than the 2006 but with better concentration, more elegance, and very good aging potential. In other words, it will be a vintage to please both the intellect and the senses
Another passonite opinion comes from acclaimed Wine Director Ken Collura of Andina Restaurant in Portland, OR.
I’ve recently read reviews regarding the 2007 Oregon Pinot Noirs, most of which are in the marketplace now. These reviews were gleaned from a number of publications, both local and national, and are well known to the readers of the Oregon Wine Press. And here are some of the things they said: pale; thin; somewhat insipid; lacking stuffing and, most to the point, a vintage to skip. Stand back folks, as I plan to rant a bit here.
What the 2007 Oregon Pinot Noirs ARE NOT: huge, opaque, fat, lush, sappy, powerful or overripe.
What the 2007 Oregon Pinot Noirs ARE: bright, finesse-driven with good acidity, fresh, light-to-mid-weight and food-friendly.
The ham-fisted table-thumpers who seek Syrah in their Pinots will be disappointed. The ’07s will not pair well with steaks and chops. However, they will marry happily with the dishes that Pinot from vintages such as this one have always paired well: fish, chicken, veggies and salads. What’s wrong with Pinot that looks, smells and tastes like Pinot? Having personally tasted about 75 different 2007s, I believe I have this vintage pegged now. The wines are high-toned and snappy, with colors that remind me of Oregon Pinots from the 90s — i.e., correct color and weight in the glass, but not black and over-extracted. Aromas are generally understated and clean, with some sour — or “pie” — cherry top-notes. The grand majority exhibits a beautiful dexterity at table, a trait that makes us sommeliers smile. Wine is meant as an accompaniment for food, something to elevate the dish being served to a higher level. When a wine becomes the focal point of a meal, things have gone awry. These “wines with bolts in their neck” tend to trample the flavors of a meal with displays of their bravado.
We need years like 2007 to offset powerhouse vintages like ’03 and ’06. Sure, this was a difficult vintage to navigate, but after discussions with dozens of winemakers and other professionals in the business, the assessment seems to be unanimous. Everybody who works on a daily basis with this product feels the 07s are clean, happy wines meant for fairly early consumption.So this summer, let’s cool them down and crack them open with the bounties that Oregon summers provide. And possibly move those negative reviews to the bottom of the birdcage where they may have a more applicable use.
Two thoughts on the 2007 vintage I thought I’d share and thanks to the aforementioned writers who have more writing talent than I. Overall, the Oregon wines from this vintage aren’t for everyone, but no vintage produces wine that is beloved by all. If you’ve actually taken the time to read this entire post, by now you are wondering which 2007 Pinot Noirs does Lange Estate have to offer?