Ayres, “Lewis Rogers Lane” Pinot Noir
Ayres, “Lewis Rogers Lane” Pinot Noir

Ayres, “Lewis Rogers Lane” Pinot Noir

Oregon / Willamette Valley, United States 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00
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Ayres, “Lewis Rogers Lane” Pinot Noir

Say it with me: Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, crafted at its highest level, is among the finest wine experiences you can have. So why is a top single-vineyard bottling (Lewis Rogers Lane) from a region-defining producer (Ayres) still under $50? I simply chalk it up as one of the biggest pricing blunders of the 21st century. 

Sure, Burgundy has Oregon winemaking beat by a couple millennia but when it comes to the here and now, Willamette Pinot is a scorching moonshot with no end in sight. Every producer we’ve featured has been treated like royalty, yet Ayres’ offerings always seem to have an additional sense of urgency attached to them. And today, we’re sharing the pride and joy of their lineup—a sublime and perfumed Pinot Noir from Brad McLeroy’s dry-farmed “Lewis Rogers Lane” vineyard. Having personally visited and tasted today’s wine at Brad’s “mom and pop” estate in the iconic Ribbon Ridge AVA, I’m convinced there’s vinous magic afoot. Share a glass with Brad and he’ll tell you this tiny-production cuvée communicates his special terroir clearer than any other. If you’re still unconvinced, consider that some of the most time-tested and comprehensive Willamette tasters we know called this ’21 release “one of the prettiest, most pure expressions of Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir [they’d] tasted.” Enjoy up to a case. 

After several years making wine under the brilliant wing of Veronique Drouhin (Domaine Drouhin) in the heart of the Dundee Hills, Brad McLeroy started out with just a few acres and has since built up a respectable collection of primarily east-facing vineyards on ancient Willakenzie sediments. The McLeroys are the fortunate gatekeepers of their land. They farm their own vines, they make the wines on-site, and they live there—it doesn’t get more “artisanal” than that. Furthermore, no herbicides or pesticides have ever been used at the property, all the vineyards are dry-farmed with organic practices, and the estate has been certified sustainable for over 15 years. 

Unlike the other sub-appellations of the Willamette Valley, Ribbon Ridge is a distinguished geological formation of uniform soils—a unique seabed uplift from the northwest peak of the Chehalem Mountains. It’s not the coolest place in the Willamette, nor is it the warmest, but it is among the driest, with a long consistent growing season less susceptible to temperature spikes and uneven ripening. And with Pinot Noir, the less climatic twists and turns, the better. Ayres’ “Lewis Rogers Lane” incorporates all of their Pinot Noir clones (667, 777, 115, 113, Pommard) from their very own estate vineyard deep in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. 

All of the hand-harvested fruit for this cuvée fermented with natural yeasts, with a small portion of whole-cluster fruit to enliven texture and add complexity to the finished wine. The wine spent just under one year in French barrels, 15% new, before bottling. Only 14 barrels were produced.

Perfumed and deeply polished with sublime, melt-in-your-mouth textures. That’s Ayres’ 2021 “Lewis Rogers Lane” in a sentence. It rumbles out of a Burgundy stem with ripe, high-toned black cherry, kola nut, muddled black raspberry, red licorice, sweet oak spice, damp earth, huckleberry compote, and a scintillating combination of blue and purple flowers. The plush palate is a few clicks beyond medium body and bright, juicy forest berries envelop the core before yielding to light hints of baking spice and earth. It’s pure. It’s addicting. It’s serious. It’s Willamette Valley Pinot crafted at its highest and most harmonious level.

Ayres, “Lewis Rogers Lane” Pinot Noir

United States


Columbia Valley

Like many Washington wines, the “Columbia Valley” indication only tells part of the story: Columbia Valley covers a huge swath of Central
Washington, within which are a wide array of smaller AVAs (appellations).


Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become an elite winegrowing zone in record time. Pioneering vintner David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyard, planted the first Pinot Noir in the region in 1965, soon to be followed by a cadre of forward-thinking growers who (correctly) saw their wines as America’s answer to French
Burgundies. Today, the Willamette
Valley is indeed compared favorably to Burgundy, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. And while Pinot Noir accounts for 64% of Oregon’s vineyard plantings, there are cool-climate whites that must not be missed.


Santa Barbara

Among the unique features of Santa Barbara County appellations like Ballard Canyon (a sub-zone of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA), is that it has a cool, Pacific-influenced climate juxtaposed with the intense luminosity of a southerly
latitude (the 34th parallel). Ballard Canyon has a more north-south orientation compared to most Santa Barbara AVAs, with soils of sandy
clay/loam and limestone.


Paso Robles

Situated at an elevation of 1,600 feet, it is rooted in soils of sandy loam and falls within the Highlands District of the Paso Robles AVA.

New York

North Fork

Wine growers and producers on Long Island’s North Fork have traditionally compared their terroir to that of Bordeaux and have focused on French varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

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