Jim Bernau planted a Pinot block in 1983 using own-rooted Dijon clone stock. Ten years later, the vines were grafted over to 667 and 777, but remain standing on Vinifera feet.
The grapes were de-stemmed at harvest, and 70 percent went into the fermenter as whole berries to undergo partial carbonic maceration. The wine was inoculated for primary fermentation, and then spent 16 months French oak in barrels, one-third new.
It’s blue-violet hued and and profoundly herbaceous, mingling a sense of green pepper and herbs with dark sweet spice and chewy black fruit. Youthful now, with tannins that feel tautly wound, it benefits from a few hours in the decanter. With air, the wine relaxes into flavors of black cherry and sous bois. Age it a while, or pair it with rich roasts and aged cheeses.
2018 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Bernau Block Willamette Valley
14.1% ABV | $65 (sample)