Thursday, June 30, 2011
Illahe Reserve Pinot noir - Hits Like a Bombshell
By Guest Contributor Jean Yates, Avalon Wine
We taste a lot of wine at Avalon and it takes a lot to impress us. Last week, Illahe's Reserve Pinot noir 08 hit us like a bombshell. It's a contender for our list of the best of the famous 2008 vintage, and a wine that you want to know about.
I wanted to get some confirmation of my impressions from outside the insulated little wine world we inhabit. So I tried it yesterday with some customers and friends. These are not professional wine people - some of them drink Pinot noir regularly, some don't. I'd decanted the wine a few hours before we got together, and a lot of the tightness that the best of the young 2008's always show had dissipated. It had opened up beautifully.
General consensus among friends and neighbors? "Delicious" dominated the discussion, with "can I take the rest of the bottle home" a popular question. Blackberries and " dark berry" were the consensus main flavors, with "spice" "walking in the forest after it rains," "cherries," and "cedar" also mentioned.
"This wine just got better and better and better, the longer I tried it" Dorothy said. "The more I tasted it, the more flavors, the more richness."
Here's our tasting note - A nose of blackberry, cedar, forest floor, and sweet spice only hints at the intense, round, tremendously impressive dark fruit and spice box flavors. Even though it's clearly young, there's so much to enjoy - the juicy blackberry and dark cherry fruit floats above a deep, dark sweet spice base with five spice, cedar, and forest floor in the mix. Unusually appealing in a young wine from the 2008 vintage, the silky tannins balance well with the fruit and acid. The core is a bit tight and there's a strong sense that this wine has a lot more to offer with time in the cellar.
The Illahe Reserve Pinot noir 08 is a definite hit of the vintage and a wine to start collecting.
Jean Yates sells Oregon Pinot noir at Avalon Wine in Corvallis, Oregon.