Portlandia Pinot Noir 2018
Yes, Portlandia is a funny name for this Oregon vintner and their wine, and while I can’t claim the wine is serious stuff, I will claim that it’s SERIOUSLY delicious.
Graduating from the University of California, Davis in 1965, David Lett drove a truck with 3,000 vine cuttings to the bucolic and serene Willamette Valley. His idea was simple: The most complex wines, like Burgundy, are made in places where the vines have to struggle. California was too hot for Pinot Noir, he reasoned, while Willamette Valley was exceptionally cool. So cool that only its southeast-facing hillsides could ever hope to make Pinot Noir as good as Burgundy.
All of that is now legend, as the Willamette Valley has behind it nearly a half-century of outstanding Pinot Noir. And David now has many followers, one of them being Damian Davis of Portlandia.
Portlandia began with an enormous road trip in search of a job. No, not a job in winemaking but a job in the tech industry. Driving from Florida to the Pacific Northwest at the tail-end of his journey, Damian took a break from the I-5 grind and decided to do some wine tasting. Fatefully, he stopped in Willamette Valley and, well, the rest is history.
Not quite history. Damian worked in the tech industry and then founded Portlandia in 2008. The idea was simple Play Hard, Work Later. And I get it. Often times I’m left explaining why a particular wine is the best of all possible wines. With this wine I don’t have to do that. What I can do, is assure you that this is some darn good drinking Pinot Noir:
The 2018 Oregon Pinot Noir (it’s actually 100% Willamette Valley, but for the sake of future TTB costs they just went with Oregon) jumps out of the glass with redcurrant, jasmine, cherry cola, and plum intermingling with warming spice aromas of graham cracker, sandalwood, and sarsaparilla. The palate is bright, fresh, and focused, with a broad framework and long, delicate finish. This seriously chuggable Pinot is a great crowd-pleaser (or cellar defender). It’s got bold enough fruit for everyone, but enough touches of earth and palate tension to be delightfully complex. Or, as Wine Enthusiast notes, it’s so good “you’ll want a case of this one.”
“Bright youthful garnet color of medium intensity. Sweet ripe cherry and red plum aromas with a hint of minerality and spicy pipe tobacco. Aromas are medium plus intensity. Aromas repeat as flavors, with a spicy lingering finish.” – Beverage Testing Institute.
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