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Posts Tagged ‘Vista Hills Vineyard & Winery’

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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We drank a lot of wine this summer—some great, but most good. For the first time in a while, I had little interest in taking risks. Schedules were insane and time was precious—my tolerance for sifting through bargain fails to find the occasional gem was fleeting at best. I found myself relying more on repeats and old favorites. When I ventured off the plantation, my flags were planted in New Zealand and Oregon and my pleasure receptors remained properly topped-off.

In the Pinot Noir category, 2 wines stood out as the best of the summer—and they happen to be neighbors.

And they are:

1. 2008 · Vista Hills · Rollins · Pinot Noir · Willamette Valley, OR
I am attempting to not sound like a wine shill while I offer yet another endorsement for a Vista Hills Pinot Noir. Because it’s fairly unusual for readers to hang on every review as it comes in, I am going to use this opportunity to recap. (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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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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