96 points - JamesSuckling.com
“Wonderfully spread-out, fine tannins give the wine a plush and disciplined texture that fills the mouth. Beautiful, ripe fruit with berry and strawberry flavors. Sous bois, too. Long and gorgeous. So delicious now, but will develop nicely with bottle age. Drink after 2021.” - James Suckling, February 2020
An elegant, refined expression of Oregon with polished tannins and riotous red fruits led by Bing cherries and red currants, joining with plums and black raspberry. Hints of black tea and dried herbs offset crisp acidity, finishing with a refreshing lift and a lingering, memorable finish.
The epitome of cool-climate viticulture, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is subject to variances of weather and best known for the equally finicky varietal: Pinot Noir. Home to two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards, Willamette Valley ranges 100 miles north to south following the Willamette River and spans 60 miles at its widest point. The region is protected from Pacific storms on the west by the Coast Range, and the Cascade Mountains on the east separate Willamette’s maritime climate from the dry heat of eastern Oregon.
In the northwest corner of Willamette Valley, low ridges create an AVA centered around the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill in a distinct horseshoe shape. Home to some of Oregon’s most regarded Pinot Noir vineyards, the Yamhill-Carlton District is known for its course-grained marine sedimentary soils that are among the oldest in Willamette Valley. The appellation is situated on hillsides between 200 and 1,000 feet in elevation, and the Yamhela Vineyard, established in 2007, is located at a sweet spot with blocks from 220-630 feet above sea level. This specific site is low enough to allow for ideal ripening and receives more sunshine than the rest of the region, which is often under a rain shadow established by the looming Coast Range to the west. The specific soil combined with the location encourages early ripening of Pinot Noir, which is particularly important in this region.
Ample rain and winter snow continued with a wet spring, a bit on the cool side. Bud break was relatively normal in mid-April, but a heat spike followed in May, pushing flowering even as a cool June followed. Intermittent heat spikes continued through July and August, but a cool September led to a relatively late Harvest.
Crafted with the same minimal winemaking techniques as Etude’s celebrated Carneros Pinot Noirs, this Oregon wine purely reflects the unique essence and character of the Yamhela vineyard while maintaining Etude’s hallmarks of aromatic intrigue, vibrancy of expression and depth in ageability.