2010 Privé "Le Nord" Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1272814

Mark and Tina Hammond purchased a small vineyard in 1995 that was originally planted to Muller-Thurgau. What came next was a Burgundy-inspired venture, with the Hammonds grafting the vines over to Pinot Noir. William Gaffney of The Prince of Pinot writes: "The vines are meticulously farmed organically and yields are less than 2 tons per acre. In 2010 and 2011, the Hammonds made a conscious effort to pull back vigor and the resulting wines are more fruit forward. They believe that a subtle herbal note in the 2009 wines may have been secondary to excessive vigor. Four Pinot Noirs are currently released, three of which are estate grown. Le nord is from the upper, northern one acre, le sud is from the lower elevation, southern one acre, and a reserve named Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life) is crafted in half-barrel quantities and presented in an etched bottle. A Willamette Valley blend sourced from several Oregon Pinot Noir vineyards rounds out the lineup. Of the estate Pinot Noirs offered, le sud ripens faster and is picker at a slightly higher Brix, but in 2010 and 2011, the cooler vintages caused le nord to ripen quicker and that was picked at a higher Brix."

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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.