A Whole Cluster Pinot Noir You Have to Try

Wine Name/Vineyard: Whole Cluster Pinot Noir

Wine Category: Pinot Noir

Grape blend: 100% Pinot Noir

Bottle size: 750 ml

Region: Willamette Valley

State or country: Oregon

Price: $24

ABV: 13.5%

Cases produced: 55,000

The Barrel Cellar Score:  92 points

Review date: May 06, 2019

About the Winemaker:  Jim Bernau is one of the pioneers of Oregon’s wine industry.  In 1981 he represented a group of winemakers in the passage of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board for the research and promotion of the young industry.  He did this at the time as a lobbyist rather than a winemaker.  Two years later, in 1983, Jim Founded Willamette Valley Vineyards.  Five years after that, in 1988 Jim took the operation public.  It’s now owned by more than 16,000 wine enthusiasts under the symbols WVVI & WVVIP.  Willamette Valley Vineyards began small with not even enough capital to have a formal irrigation system. Willamette Valley Vineyards is now putting out world class wines and has been recognized as “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Color:  Ruby with a redwood rim

Nose:  Crème brulee, reserved floral notes.

Taste:  Cherry juice, earth, dried herbs, tobacco Finish: dried herbs, black pepper.

Assessment:   This light bodied Pinot Noir is a pleasure to drink.  Willamette Valley Vineyards really hit a home run with the balance on this one.  The tannic presence (elevated by the inclusion of the stems during fermentation) is nearly perfect.  The earthiness that comes from the area’s volcanic soil really puts this over the top. The wine is young, the 2017 vintage will benefit from further aging.

I really like this wine.  I was debating on whether to rate this wine as very good (91 pts) or exceptional (92 pts).  After considering both the price of this wine (an excellent value at $24) and how I think it will evolve with a little more time in the bottle, I believe this wine is a solid 92 pts.  I recommend taking advantage of a case discount and buying the 2017 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir in bulk at Willamette Valley Vineyards website here.

Pairing recommendation:  Pair with a mild cheese, charcuterie, or poultry.

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2017 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir is an excellent wine.  92 points

Read the Barrel Cellar’s other Willamette Valley Vineyards review here.

Visit the Barrel Cellar’s other wine reviews here.

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