Dignitas Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Dignitas RESERVE Willamette Valley 2012 Pinot Noir
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
GRAPE: Pinot Noir
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Willamette Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.40%
2012 is one of the best all-time vintages in the Willamette Valley and this is a stunning fruit forward wine with a ton of character and class. Steve Anderson is quite a talented winemaker, who has a long and distinguished history in Oregon and in the viticultural community. I sampled this wine in barrel in December and bottled in March 2014 with the Winery in the Willamette Valley. What is so special about this wine is that it is pure and classical fruit forward Pinot that is drinking beautifully now but has the depth and class for aging potential. A provocative and suave nose of wild cherries, strawberry cream and cranberries with touches of red flowers and spice. Well balanced with complex and layered flavors with significantly more fruit than the typical WV Pinot. A delicious sip of red cherry, kirsch, milk chocolate, and pomegranate with touches of red roses and cinnamon. Mouth watering with nice concentration and a long, distinguished finish. It will provide many more years of enjoyment. I recently dined at Tina’s in Dundee, one of my favorite restaurants in the WV. This will pair nicely with their signature Pinot friendly dishes, including: Creamy duck confit ravioli, Salmon spring rolls, Salmon Troisgros, prawns and roasted Duck in a green peppercorn sauce.
2012 Willamaette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir
This Oregon Pinot Noir is one of this year’s true surprises. Truly a favorite of our tasting team, this Dignitas Willamette Valley Reserve wine fulfills its expectations as stated by Wine Spectator - “Oregon is second-to-none in this country when it comes to its signature wine grape.” Adding to this the fact that the 2012 harvest was deemed by many to be the best in the past 10 years and you have a wine produced from exceptional fruit that screams Oregon.
This Pinot Noir is a great balance of fruit and toasted oak. Ripe berries and cherries mingle with the soft, supple texture of wine aged in a combination of American and French oak barrels. Well-rounded mouth-feel and smooth finish complete the palate of this wine. Another superb example of the best of Oregon terroir.
Willamette Valley 2012 Growing Season
Oregon’s Willamette Valley’s grape harvest was completed for all practical purposes, by October 18 in 2012. The buzz among the region’s winemakers was that they had just experienced an excellent harvest, highlighted by full flavors and good balance, particularly Pinot Noir. The valley’s climate was so good that most vineyards did not have to thin the crop to achieve ripeness. Mother Nature had indeed been on her best behavior. Warmer than average temperatures, along with a super dry summer and fall, had created ideal conditions. The fruit picked would produce juice that needed only a relatively short time in wood to attain reserve quality.
Aroma: Berry fruits and a touch of smoke
Taste: Cherries and cranberries
Body: Rich, nearing robust!
Brix at Harvest: 23.8 average
Acid: 6.0 grams/liter
Steve Anderson, Winemaker
As a thirteen year-old, Steve Anderson was making wine from the neighbors' blackberries and grapes - a hobby that soon made him quite popular with family and friends. As each year passed, so did the demand for his wine. After graduating from Oregon State University, this horticulture major set out to find work as a vineyard manager in the Willamette Valley. The year was 1993. What looked like a promising job was unexpectedly filled by someone else. However, there was an opening for a "cellar rat" at the same winery and Steve eagerly grabbed it. After only three weeks, he was elevated to an assistant winemaker's position. Working well under pressure and having the mechanical ability and background in science had paid dividends. Seven years later he became head winemaker at Eola Hills located in the southern part of the northern Willamette Valley. Some fifteen years later, Steve is still making wine, and is recognized by his Oregon peers as a winemaker on the move and someone who always makes the most of his resources.
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.