Oregon 2013 Pinot Noir, a World Apart

I wanted to take some time to look at just one producer (my current favorite) making Pinot Noir in Oregon, Big Table Farm. The 2013 vintage was a distinctive one due to an unfortunate bout of rain that divided the vintage between those who picked before the rain and those who picked after.

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Big Table Farm Willamette Pinot Noir

Oregon Pinot Noir of 2013: Big Table Farm

I wanted to take some time to look at just one producer (my current favorite) making Pinot Noir in Oregon. The 2013 vintage was a distinctive one due to an unfortunate bout of rain that divided the vintage between those who picked before the rain and those who picked after. Those who picked early got away technically unscathed, but had to deal with a high-acid, low brix crop that challenged the typical trend in the US market, even in Burgundian OR.

Big Table Farm seemed up to the task, with all three of today’s selections coming in at less than 12% abv! That’s damn low, but the wines were savory, graceful, and seductive. All three were vinified in a mix of used and new french oak.

 

2013 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Fermented with whole clusters (giving a more wild, rustic, and green quality). Right out of the bottle it was mono-tone cherry cola on the nose and simple and austere on the palate

btfwv13

with a bitter finish. But after a couple of hours and a great rich braise to pair along side, it flourished in the manner I had hoped for

Very light in color, nose of cherry cola, spice box and a nice rocky quality. Also some garden herbs, all soft and sweet. Beautifully seductive aromatics. Lean and clean on the palate with a surprisingly long spicy finish. Great old world style. Time air and food are needed.

 

 

2013 Cattrall Brothers Vineyard Pinot Noirbtfcb13

Very pale, red rose color, the nose is sweet rosewater to start, then very delicate notes of rhubarb, white pepper, fennel, and smoke as it opened. The acidity and finish are both quite light to me, but it paired well with seared salmon and sauteed leeks. I have no idea how it would stand up to (or improve with) age, it is just so delicate. Probably the most complete and whole wine of the three.

11.2% abv. Planted with organically farmed Wadensville clone (own-rooted) on a high and cool site in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA

2013 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir

btfyc13

Farmed on the Coats and Whitney Vineyards in the Y-C AVA. I opened, then tossed it in the fridge fBig Table Farm Willamette Pinot Noiror a bit to bring it down to cellar temp, which really coaxed some of the aromas out. A very pretty pale garnet, with aromas sweet cherry liqueur, rose water, mint & garden herbs, a hint of wet earth.
Palate is supple and smooth, though with a bit of a watery impression on the mid palate. Some tannin builds up with air but overall the wine is all delicate and pretty and subtle.
11.8% abv. Pommard and Wadensville clones, some whole cluster fermentation.

 

Author: The Ex-Sommelier

Former sommelier with the Batali & Bastianich Restaurant Group in New York. Now a NorCal based wine writer and consultant.

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