2011 Soter "North Valley" Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

SKU #1145024 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Soter's 2011 Pinot Noir North Valley brilliantly showcases its vintage's virtues, as well as confirms his and Cahill's belief in its superiority to 2010. A silken texture is allied to animation, brightness and refreshment; sweetly ripe though tart-edged and piquantly pit-inflected fresh red berry fruit is garlanded with freesia and wisteria, but also tinged with smoky black tea and pungent green herbs. Somehow, the overall effect is not at all bifurcated or awkwardly edgy but instead reflects productive tension, culminating in a long, buoyant finish at once soothing and stimulating in its burst of berry seed-crunching. I predict that this terrific value will show handsomely through at least 2018.

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark red. Fresh raspberry, spicecake and rose oil on the fragrant nose. Silky, smoky and appealingly fruit-forward, offering lively red berry flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. Shows very good energy and persistence on the finish, which features fine-grained tannins...

K&L Notes

North Valley is the result of Soter Vineyards' partnership with some of Willamette Valley's most talented grape growers. Sustainably farmed, the grapes are sourced from Eola-Amity Hills (52%), Yamhill-Carlton (42%), and Dundee Hills (5%). The wine was fermented with 20% whole clusters for structure and aged in 15% new French oak, as to not impart too much new wood to this elegant Pinot Noir. From winemaker James Cahill: "A brilliant, deep crimson hue creates a noble appearance. The wine offers a compelling and classic Oregon Pinot Noir aroma profile with fresh berry and black cherry dominant. Hints of earth and spice add interest and attraction. On entry the wine is silky and ethereal with lively acidity and a good sense of grip. It is firm, ample and balanced with a core of sweet fruits. Flavors of black cherry and marionberry dominate the palate while red raspberry and spice linger on the finish."

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Mahon McGrath | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2013 | Send Email
Soter has shown a masterly hand in the 2011 North Valley. This is spritely, dynamic Willamette Pinot Noir. Dark cherry and rosehip notes, with a dry edge, on the nose segue into lifted berry flavors buttressed by a dusting of earthy cocoa. The slight chalk of the tannins adds texture to the vibrant, lively finish.

Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2013 | Send Email
This is firm, dark and deep with a dusty edge to the tannic finish. Despite the initial brooding nature a fresh cranberry edge lends an overall sense of balance and equilibrium that keeps you reaching for another taste. This interesting and well made Pinot should stand up to fairly hearty fare.

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Highly touted for its Pinot Noirs, Oregon is part of the up-and-coming winemaking industry in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Most of Oregon is directly affected by the climate coming off of the Pacific Ocean, giving it mild winters and wet summers. This makes it a difficult place to ripen grapes, but some say that the harder grapes have to struggle, the more complex they will turn out to be. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are two important and successful grapes grown in Oregon.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.4