1996 Eyrie "Reserve" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1160448

Eyrie founder David Lett is a winemaking legend and one of the Willamette Valley's pioneers. Lett founded the winery with his wife Diana in 1966, producing their first vintage in 1970. In 1975 Eyrie prdouced the first American-made Pinot Noir to compete successfully against its French counterparts. The Reserve Pinot Noir comes from the winery's original vines, now 40-plus-years-old and fully expressing the terroir of the Dundee Hills.

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Price: $219.99
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Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/9/2014 | Send Email
Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full
I should preface this note by thanking Jason Lett personally for generously sharing his time, vines, words and wines with the lucky few of us who visited him that sparkling spring day in May. As we sat there pondering and searching the sky for signs of a telltale red-tail, he disappeared briefly and came back with a bottle of his 1996 Eyrie "Reserve" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. Crafted from fruit grown on the original Pinot Noir vines that put Willamette Valley on the wine map a half century ago, the reserve bottling is treated with reverence— "mostly whole berries picked in the cool of the morning, destemmed and fermented in small bins, punched down every four hours and gently pressed and transferred to oak barrels" where it takes a nap for nearly two years. Unfined, unfiltered and unimaginably delicate in color, tinged with terra-cotta and rose, revealing sophisticated flavors of orange peel, stone cherry, black tea, forest floor and potpourri spice. A wine for the sages, speaking words of wisdom…..

Staff Image By: Sal Rodriguez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/20/2014 | Send Email
We sat on the deck with Jason and Paloma, at Eyrie, and enjoyed one of the best Oregon Pinots I've ever tasted, their '96 Reserve Pinot Noir! What you can expect is an incredible amount of fruit and lovely spice on the nose while reflecting the same smooth, luscious fruit and spice with herb on the palate. A rather pretty, well balanced, smooth number that might leave you pondering the infinite abyss. One thing to note is that Jason and crew essentially opened every single bottle of this wine, tossed out anything that wasn't up to Eyrie's standards, blended/re-bottled the remaining (perfect) wine, and used a diam closure to re-seal. Although it's not inexpensive, can you really place a value on a perfect bottle of aged Pinot?

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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.