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Posts Tagged ‘Dundee Hills’

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.

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Gypsy Dancer first caught my eye when a glut of bottles, the A & G Estates Pinot Noir and the Cuvée Romy Pinot Noir, appeared on WineBid.com. They sat for months, getting chipped away at, before I plucked a bottle for myself. It wasn’t until it got home did I realize what that atypical quantity available for auction meant.

Sadly, with the passing of Gary Andrus, Gypsy Dancer founder and winemaker, the label will be no more. Inventories are being sold off. Ironically, I came across a paragraph on the Gypsy Dancer Facebook page written by Katherine Cole from The Oregonian.[Katherine recently wrote a blurb on  C+C , also in The Oregonian.]

Cheers to the memory of Gary Andrus, the former Olympic skier who founded Archery Summit, and later, Gypsy Dancer, in the Willamette Valley, before dying last year. -Kathernine Cole The Oregonian (more…)

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2007 · Vista Hills · Treehouse · Estate Pinot Noir · Dundee Hills · Willamette Valley, OR

I let go of my membership to the Justin Wine Society about 6 months ago. Another one of my remaining 3 is on the chopping block. Lean times.

Vista Hills, however, is not going anywhere—ironically, there is no doubt that had they not contacted us a day prior to our visit to Oregon and invited us to swing by, I would have no idea who they are and what makes them special. I adore their Pinot Noir of course, but I also admire their people, their location, and their unique combination of winemaking talent and collaborative cellar work (White Rose, De Ponte, Northwest Wine Company, Panther Creek).

The result is a very small production winery that shows real bottle diversity—not just a cost corresponding pecking order based on fundamentally similar wine. Oh, and everything I’ve seen on club price lists has been under $39. Did I mention I could hit Domaine Serene with a 9 iron from there? (more…)

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When Carey and I last visited Vista Hills in March, vines throughout the valley were spottily coming to life, prematurely coaxed by the warm weather. The threat of a freeze with much of March still left on the calendar was a concern, but that fortunately did not come to pass, and a world of change has since occurred in the vineyards at Vista Hills we are thrilled to hear.

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Vineyard dogs and cats were the true masters of grape in Napa Valley. Their ambassadorial roles are witnessed by the thousands of visitors each year and even the subject of coffee table books—multiple coffee table books.

Carey embraced the vineyard dog scene thoroughly. We threw sticks and soggy tennis balls, scratched little chins, looked under sunny porches, got muddied by paws, inquired in tasting rooms, and, of course, took pictures all over Napa and  Sonoma. So I had little doubt that Oregon would be any different. Wine simply cannot be made without dogs (or cats).

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The impetus for our trip to Oregon probably isn’t what you think. When was the last time you traveled across the country for a book reading? Because that is exactly what we did. Of course we incorporated other activities, but had our friends at Lange not told us about the reading, the trip wouldn’t have happened.

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While winding through Carlton and Dundee on the first afternoon of our arrival, the degree to which I underestimated the geographical scope of the northern Oregon wine industry became frustratingly apparent. Being guided by nothing in particular, just a Willamette Valley tasting room map dotted with an incredible number of dots on Carey’s lap, I was almost too overwhelmed to know where to start.

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