Less than a month ago we saw what a warmer growing season could do for Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley. But how did that same year affect the Pinot Noir on the vine? This vintage deserves further investigation.
The 1994 vintage itself, when compared to the vintages surrounding it (1992, very hot; 1993, very cool and wet; 1995, hot; 1996, hot), seemed to be a miracle vintage, where the season progressed perfectly and sugar levels, acidity, and ripeness levels were all in balance.
What’s the thinking behind creating a “reserve” wine and what does it mean? Just like the term “late harvest,” there’s no legal definition for what constitutes a reserve wine. Every winery’s definition differs, but Montinore’s has historically been defined by its structure and dark fruit characteristics in comparison to the Estate Pinot Noir: the more-structured vineyard blocks are nurtured for a little more time in their French oak cradles after fermentation to highlight the tannins and create a wine that drinks well upon release but has the potential to age magnificently. Ideally, we’re trying to create the most complete wine that we can from a particular vintage.
Twenty years later, the initial impression of this wine is the density of its deep garnet color; I would have expected a bit more color loss, but still very concentrated. The initial whiff gives a dusty aroma of black cherry and blackberry with a pronounced gamy note of smokiness. The fruit has integrated on the palate, revealing secondary earthy and leathery notes while a distinct peatiness lingers on the finish.
Just last month we released our 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir, which already shows great potential. Delicious now, but I believe it can be cellared for a minimum of ten years and most likely longer; patience will be greatly rewarded.