2021 Stangeland Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée"
2021 Stangeland Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée"

2021 Stangeland Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée"

Oregon, United States 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$35.00

2021 Stangeland Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée"

 Let’s clear something up right away: I’m not accidentally forgetting an “r” in the name of today’s off-the-charts yet relatively unknown Oregon winery–though it is “strange” that I have somehow never crossed paths with Stangeland until very recently. No, “stange,” pronounced “stang” is Nordic for “strong” and is a nod to owner Larry Miller’s grandparents, immigrants from Norway. And indeed, everything about today’s Pinot Noir discovery is, as the kids say, “strong!” Small, dry-farmed, organic plots on rocky-clay soils get bright sun in the day and cold, pacific winds in the evening, leading to a perfect snapshot of Eola-Amity hills terroir. If you like a precisely balanced, silky, sappy, earthy bottle of Pinot for a great price (and really, who doesn’t?!?), then it’s time to load up on Stangeland!

When Grace and Marion Miller moved to Oregon from North Dakota in 1938 there was no such thing as a wine industry. Even when the purchased a bit of land in the Eola-Amity hills in 1971 there were just small handful of vineyards in the area, but their son Larry recognized the potential of the south facing site with rocky, well drained soil and so he set about planting a few vines of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. By doing so he increased the total vine acreage there by several percentage points, since at the time it was just 25 total acres. Today it’s closer to 3000.

Farming has always been at the core of Larry and his wife Bobi’s philosophy. The vines have been entirely dry-farmed since day one (no irrigation) which allows the roots to grow very deep in search of the water table below. Though not certified, farming is also wholly organic, with no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides ever touching the soil, and they also eschew tilling, preferring the natural cover crops and biodiversity to create a natural environment for the vines. The goal every vintage is to harvest healthy, perfectly balanced fruit that will transfer the pure, exceptional terroir into every bottle.

Once harvested, that fruit goes to the cellar where it is in the capable hands of Robert Lauer, a veteran of both vineyard management and winemaking who studied enology at UC Davis and was most recently at Rose & Arrow–the high flying Oregon winery founded by Burgundian icon Louis-Michel Belair and producer Mark Tarlov–before joining the small team at Stangeland. Robert is a meticulous shepherd of the winemaking process, providing a clean, healthy environment for the grapes on their journey to becoming wine. He uses about 25% whole clusters, a very gentle press, and native yeast fermentation before racking into French oak barrels–about 25% new–for 11 months of aging. 

The estate “Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée” is released when it’s fully ready to pop and pour, but I would still recommend a quick splash decant to make sure the wine is awake and showing at peak deliciousness. Serve in a large Burgundy stem and you’ll immediately notice the bright, vibrant ruby red hue with hints of pink and magenta at the rim. Aromas of sweet red cherries, wild boysenberries, crushed strawberries, and currant give way to savory notes of dried mint, sage, cola nut, espresso, and baking spice. The palate is silky smooth, but with just the right amount of tannin and acidity to provide a refreshing backbone, and a long, mineral inflected finish. Serve it on the cool side with any al fresco meal–from smoked ribs to grilled salmon to lamb kabobs–and you’ll be living the best iteration of Pacific Northwest life!

2021 Stangeland Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée"

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