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2002 Penner Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1009912

90 points Stephen Tanzer: "($40) Deep, dark red. Densely packed dark cherry, blackberry, smoked meat and game on the nose, like a modern-style Gevrey-Chambertin. Then concentrated, even thick in texture, with blueberry and dark chocolate dominating the flavors. The long, powerful finish displays no harsh edges." 89 points and 1 Puff from the Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: "Here is a well-structured working from Oregon that exhibits the brightness we have come to expect from its provenance but has plenty of juicy young fruit. It begins with a slightly tight nose of ripe cherries, toast and subtle mineral notes and opens up on the palate and shows a nice sense of substance and flesh. While it heats up some and stiffens ever so slightly at the end, its fruity message is not lost, and it promises more polish and prettiness with age." (Volume 29 Issue 4: Feburary 2005) K&L's notes - Incredible! This coveted Pinot shows big lush blackberry and cherry fruit with hints of licorice and spice. It is hugely explosive and dense on the palate with nicely integrated wood and sweet vanilla lingering on the finish. Sourced from a few of Oregon's finest Pinot Noir vineyards (including Shea and Bethel Heights), and aged for 10 months in 35% new French oak, 30% one-year-old French oak and 35% in two-year-old French oak.

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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.


- 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.