2011 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1150578 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Bottled only ten days before I tasted it in July - late even by their standards because, says Jason Lett, 'it was very tannic and tough early on' and he left in in tank from November 2012 - Eyrie’s 'regular' estate 2011 Pinot Noir is light enough in color that some Pinotphiles may be put off. Its recent bottling didn’t cause it to be inexpressive - far from it. But what it does express is extreme and unusual, so much so that I can’t recommend buying it without first trying it. A fascination amalgam of sauteed wild mushrooms, prosciutto, tomato, and walnut oil fills my head rapidly with notions of how I might employ this at table, while prompting a question I generally delight in finding myself asking about a wine (but seldom do outside the realm of Pinot), namely, 'How can this have come from grapes?' That said...I’m skeptical as to whether it would be one to hold for more than a couple of years; but, as intimated, I could imagine getting some serious mileage from it meantime ... and naturally it might live to make a fool of me. (DS)  (10/2013)

K&L Notes

From the winery: "This wine displays the rewards of a late vintage. Extremely pale in color, and extremely expressive, it is presenting intense aromas of savory earth, ripe fig, and bramble. Although young, it is already beginning to show layers of complexity and a lengthy, umami-laden finish." Wine Advocate adds: "Jason Lett showed me another exciting group of wines this year that combined fidelity to the esteemed and time-tested traditions established by his dad with innovative experimentation. 'With our organic approach,' says Lett, 'we always do a lot of leaf-pulling, and we’re out there on the tractor an awful lot; and that paid dividends in 2010 and 2011.' As noted in my general introduction to this report, he professed himself thrilled with the back-to-back opportunities of these cool, late-harvest seasons 'to make a vintage from the ‘70s again.’' That said there were some admitted drawbacks to 2011 conditions here: first and foremost that - in contrast to many Willamette vintners - Lett experienced very low yields." (10/2013, DS)

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Price: $34.99
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Staff Image By: Sal Rodriguez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/20/2014 | Send Email
On occasion, you just want a pretty, expensive tasting Pinot Noir that has a lot to offer and doesn't cost a fortune. May I present the 2011 Estate bottle from Eyrie. When opening a bottle of this Pinot, there isn't the rich red/crimson coloring that you can sometimes expect from the wine, but rather, it has a brown tinged, burnt orange hue. When I see that color in a wine, I sort of expect to experience an old wine that has seen more youthful days. This "young" (25+ y/o vines) wine however, in spite of its appearance, offers up an inviting, bright, raspberry/cherry on the nose. Once on the palate you'll experience some bright crunchy fruit with a lively bit of acidity that pulls you in with a delicious hint of baking spice. Although it's drinking beautifully now, you could certainly lay this one down for a few years.

Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/10/2014 | Send Email
This wine is absolutely outstanding--to the point that I'm almost in shock. There's a pure, red-fruited, Burgundian flavor that's more tart than it is supple, but the baking spices and forest floor notes really send this bottle over the top. It needs decanting and some food, but this is the kind of wine that becomes legendary. This is the kind of bottle you talk about years later.

Additional Information:


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 (%): 13.5