2008 Illahe Reserve Willamette Pinot Noir

SKU #1267183 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Illahe's 2008 Pinot Noir Reserve shows how fine their essays in the Willamette's key grape can be, as well as how much intrigue there can be to those of this vintage, which are more usually rather simply in its sweet ripeness, at least at this stage. Blueberry and cassis are wreathed in gentian and violet in the nose. Expansive and silken-textured, this picks up hints of maple syrup and bittersweet suggestions of carob on satisfyingly juicy and polished palate free of any superficial sense of sweetness. There is a brooding undertone suggesting the proverbial forest floor that's beautifully complimented by the infectious, sheer primary fruit juiciness of the finish. (DS)  (10/2013)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Light and fragrant, the silky texture carries lovely cherry, bergamot and tea flavors through a long, expressive finish. Tight tannins should soften with cellaring. (HS, Web-2011)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 Yes, this does not shy away from the herbal bite often found in Oregon Pinot. But that accent is nicely integrated into a firm, balanced wine with penetrating red fruits and darker notes of black coffee, black licorice and a whiff of fresh truffle. (PG)  (3/2012)

Wine & Spirits

 Scents of black cherry and caramel give way to dense, oaky flavors. Serve it with grilled chicken.  (4/2011)

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Price: $29.99
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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.