2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1169387 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice" Fine-tuning a legacy, second-generation winemaker Jason Lett’s wines are clean, elegant, poised and balanced. This is textbook Pinot Noir, with just-ripe raspberry and cherry fruit, vivid acidity, savory herb, and a foundation of clay and clean earth. Drink now-2024.  (10/2014)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is now supplemented by purchased fruit from outside the estate, fermented mostly in small 4- and 8-hectoliter vats to enable a cool ferment as the heat escapes from the top before it has time to build. It has plenty of earthy black fruit on the nose: stoic and a little aloof at first, but certainly well defined and focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh blackberry and blueberry fruit, a little austere however, this acidity is extremely well judged and it fans out beautifully on the black olive-tinged finish. Superb.  (3/2015)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Spicy cherry and black raspberry scents show very good clarity and suave floral and mineral highlights. Silky, sweet and precise on the palate, offering intense red and dark berry flavors that provide excellent palate coverage and a touch of spicecake. Strikes an appealing balance of richness and vivacity, with supple tannins framing the long, fruit-driven finish. This wine is made from 84% estate fruit, with the rest sourced from the Cattrall Brothers, Pear and Bishop Creek vineyards.  (8/2014)

K&L Notes

Rounder and riper than Eyrie's 2011 Estate Pinot, with Eyrie's signature transparent style. Packed with lavish spice, silky red and black cherries and raspberries on the palate, pleasant acidity and a touch of iron and bramble on the fine, flavorful finish. A marriage of suave and sensual, and although age-worthy, this promises considerable charm now. (John Majeski, K&L San Francisco)

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Price: $32.99
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Staff Image By: Michael Jordan | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/1/2015 | Send Email
Red and black fruit nicely balanced with underlying structure and acidity. Cola, rhubarb, forest floor and spice beautifully integrated. The 2012 are a little riper than the past couple of vintages but this wine keeps its balance perfectly. One of the best of the 2012s from Oregon.

Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/8/2014 | Send Email
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David Lett was barely twenty-five in 1965, fresh out of UC Davis, with a smart detour in Burgundy under his boots and a strong, irrepressible passion to make great wine. So the next year he and his wife Diana transported a few thousand Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other varietal cuttings up to northern Oregon and christened them on a few acres of pristine, southern-exposed slopes in the Red Hills of Dundee, thirty miles south of Portland. These were the very first Pinot vineyards in the Willamette Valley, and David Lett remained an outspoken, influential and wise presence in the region until his untimely death in 2008, affectionately nicknamed "Papa Pinot" by those who knew, respected and treasured him. I visited Eyrie this spring with several K&L staffers, and was met by David Lett's son Jason, who took over the winery in 2005 and was shepherding it through yet another growing season. Having grown up in the vineyards, he spoke with gentle ease about the sense of bestowed responsibility and challenges—always small production, a distinctive sense of place, uncompromising ethics—that faced the winery as it entered its fifth decade, and of the importance of maintaining the Eyrie style of natural, lithely-textured, aromatically pure, age-worthy wines. A superb example that expressed the magnificent 2012 vintage, the Eyrie "Estate" Pinot was both rounder and riper than in 2011, with more lavish spice, silky red and black cherries and raspberry on the palate, pleasant acidity and a touch of iron earth and bramble on the fine, flavorful finish. A marriage of suave and sensual, and although age-worthy, this promises considerable charm now, as the tannins are well-integrated and impressively smooth. Lett it be!

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/8/2014 | Send Email
It always shocks me that people don’t know more about Eyrie Vineyards. The history is rich: they were the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley and the first to plant Pinot Gris in the New World; their prices are comparatively reasonable; and the quality of the wines is second to none. A perfect example of why Eyrie should be known more than they are is this 2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($32.99). This stunning wine rivals any Pinot from anywhere in the world at the price point. Truly exceptional. Heck, I even wrote the word “Superstar” in my notes the first time I tasted it. Deeply perfumed on the nose, the wine expresses itself openly with layers of blood orange, rose water, crushed lavender, and white cherry. Long, open and sort of lanky, this is a pretty, Old World-influenced Pinot with no manipulation, just a pure expression of the great estate vineyards. Light to medium weight but bursting with flavor and complexity, this is packed with sassy flavors of loganberry, wild blackberry, clay, sous bois, tangy red cherry and a subtle herbal quality. Simply put, I don’t know of any better Pinot Noir on the shelves right now in this price range.

Staff Image By: Sal Rodriguez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/29/2014 | Send Email
Eyrie Vineyards was a real highlight for me on a recent trip to Oregon. I got to meet the mild mannered, kind, sincere Jason Lett. He's got lots of class and makes very classy wine. It's completely impressive what he's doing in the vineyard and with the wines. The 2012 Estate Pinot was one of our favorite wines on the trip. It's approachable, delicious, full of life and dark fruit. On the palate, it has a supple, smooth texture and is truly delectable. I expect this to only become more delicious and balanced over time. So, while it's wonderfully drinkable now, I can't wait to try this in another couple of years!

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/26/2014 | Send Email
There is nothing better than tasting a great wine amongst the vines whose fruit produces that same wine. Several of us were fortunate enough to have this experience with the 2012 Eyrie Estate Grown Pinot Noir. But does the wine taste as memorably delicious within the confines of our roomy, comfortable, yet admittedly less romantic tasting bar in Redwood City? On Tuesday July 29th, during a staff tasting billed as a "Dog Day Afternoon," we confirmed that this wine is, not surprisingly, the real deal. This is supple and juicy Pinot Noir, with aromas of cherries, pretty florals and subtle savory tones. On the palate, more cherries, featuring a deeper pitch than the norm at Eyrie (particularly when compared to the light as a feather, red fruited, elegant beyond belief 2011 vintage.) That said, I do love the 2012 vintage of this wine as well. Wonderfully pure fruit, loads of drinkability, and beautiful texture - that illusive quality which certain wineries just tend to nail vintage after vintage. In case you could not tell, we all are big fans of Eyrie here and cannot recommend their wines highly enough!

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