The 2008 vintage at Vista Hills has scored beautifully in the wine press. Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate scored the entire Pinot Noir lineup—7 wines ranging from 88 to 92 points, a stunning accomplishment. The Piedmont Pinot Noir, made from estate fruit under the supervision of winemaker Jim Sanders of La Cadeau, was the 88-point wine, and yes, the lowest scored wine of the lot. My first impulse was to head straight to it. Here is what I thought.
My tasting notes:
Bunched nose of crushed black fruit, eucalyptus, and hazelnut. Accessible, undemanding aromas in a style I crave with a simple brick oven pizza.
The fruit is smartly developed, showing darker and bolder in the glass than many Oregonian comparables. Still thankfully removed from brassier California stylings—Sta Rita Hills, for example—an appellation known, and sometimes criticized, for its explosive, deeply concentrated, high alcohol Pinot Noir. Acidity is vibrant and the mouthfeel rolls easily. I detect a nice cheek tingle of tart fruit and acid.
For those who have a sense of the Vista Hills stylistic cross section, The Piedmont plays an important role. It may lack the complexity and self-confidence of the Saga Hills Reserve and the edgy arrogance of the Rollins Estate, but it thrives in a less is more approach. It’s clean-cut and delicious. 88 points is very conservative—and I rarely think wine is underrated.