2012 Bethel Heights "Aeolian" Eola-Amity Hills Estate Pinot Noir

SKU #1165994 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The maiden 2012 Aeolian Pinot Noir is named after the wind and comes from vines planted 1994-1999 on the estate. Apparently, the wind causes a bifurcation in quality, especially on the west side of the property. It was picked October 5-14 at 23.9 Brix and aged for 11 months in French oak, 40% new barrel. The bouquet is very appealing and in my mind, superior to the Pinot Noir Estate, better defined and demonstrating more mineralité. The palate is medium-bodied with tensile tannins. There is a pleasant prickle of spice, salted licorice and black truffle toward the finish. This is an understated Pinot Noir but one that is full of class.  (3/2015)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 **Best Buy** Dark, youthful and vinous, this bracing pinot is true to its name, bearing the mark of the winds that buffet the Bethel Heights estate. The flavors are forward, pure purple plum and black cherry girded by a wind-bitten firmness that registers as mineral and deep. Decant for duck with cherry sauce.  (10/2014)

K&L Notes

Terry and Ted Casteel have been making some of Oregon's best wines since their first vintage in 1984, and now with Terry's son Ben making wine, and Ted's daughter Mimi managing the vineyards, the tradition of excellence is being carried on by the next generation. The Aeolian Pinot also represents the second generation--this time the estate's second generation of vines, planted in the 1990s. Winemaker notes: "Aromas of black berry, black currant, plum and sandalwood over hints of orange zest and pine resin. On the palate, flavors of black cherry and blueberry with hints of black pepper and oak spice. These flavors meld over a dense core of nervy acidity and fine-grained tannins, giving the wine both tension and vivacity. This wine has the concentration to age gracefully over the next 10 years."

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Price: $39.99
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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 (%): 13.7