Seeing how we're on track for 2014 to be the warmest vintage in ten years, let's take a look back at 1992, considered the warmest year on record for the Willamette Valley. Bud break began about a month early for us (in comparison, we were about two weeks early this year) and the season progressed quickly through a warm, dry summer. Many vineyards, Montinore included, started picking at the end of August; that year still remains as the only time that harvest started before September 1.
Pinot Noir relies on acidity to carry it through years of aging, and in warmer vintages where there's more sugar development in the grapes, the acidity drops and the wines are more suited for consumption in the short-term but may not hang on through the long haul. However, the 1992 Estate Pinot Noir does show promise; it clocks in at a respectable 12.9% alcohol with harvest taking place between August 30 and September 4. Perhaps the early harvest was a plan to maintain acidity?
With a dark brick color, the 1992 definitely shows its age. It opens with notes of leather, spice, and stewed plum and its brief finish is marked with cinnamon. It retains a nice balance of tannin and acidity, though. Perhaps a little past its prime, but it's still holding up well and does show that, even in a very warm year, Pinot Noir can be crafted to last.