It was more cocktail party than wine tasting, but the line-up on the table was incredible. It’s always a rare opportunity to taste such a broad selection of outstanding wines. Instinctively I went into power tasting mode, moving down the table methodically, focusing on the wines while the other guests focused on the conversation. It was very clear who the geek in the room was. I’m not a big fan of tasting wines in such conditions, but you do what you have to do.
While these were big name labels, more often than not the wines were less than big time. This always seems to be the case these days: the more famous the wines the more so-so they are. Just as my palate was about to be lulled to sleep from all the oak and alcohol something happened. I put my nose in the next glass and suddenly I was jolted into focus. The brightness of the wine in my glass stood out among technically well-made, but dead wines surrounding it. I tasted it again and then again to be sure. Indeed this was a special wine.
The wine was the 2006 Ken Wright, Pinot Noir, Abbott Claim Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton AVA (buy online) and the first sniff tells you you’ve found something special. The nose lightly lifts out of the glass with a lively wild blackberry essence laced with a warm truffled earthiness. The first sip greets your tongue with a little acid love bite followed by a complexity that dances across your palate. All to often heavy handed overripe fruit dominates wine today, but not here as the gracefully ripe fruit lifts the wine more than weighs it down. The finish is long and firm and still a bit closed as this is a wine that needs two or three more years to revel its complete character.
Few winemakers have given us more fine pinot noir over than years than Oregon’s Ken Wright and with this wine he once again proves that powerful pinot is not powerful, but a wine that gains its power from complexity.
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