Anne Amie 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

| March 28, 2013

annie pinot noirI recently realized that about half of the wine that I pour in my house is Pinot Noir. It is, admittedly, my favorite red wine to drink unpaired with food. But more importantly, I find Pinot Noir’s pricing to be somewhat more telling than other varietals and so I am often priced out of ordering the producers that I am intrigued by in restaurants. It is a fickle grape to plant and harvest, and a delicate wine to vinify. Moreover, the viticultural areas that seem to produce the best Pinot Noir also seem to be the most challenging to maintain and harvest.

Though the best Pinots in America don’t command the same outrageous prices as cult Cabernet Sauvignons, a lot of the bottles that most excite me are still in the 40$-60$ retail range, and god knows how much some restaurants mark them up. This is why I am so excited by the Anne Amie 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which retails for around $30 (anneamie.com).

Admittedly, I like almost every wine from Willamette that I have met. But the Anne Amie, along with the Antica Terra Ceras (anticaterra.com), and the Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve (bethelheights.com) are special to me. These are Pinot Noirs that express exactly where they come from and everything that went into making them. They strike an inspiring balance between the earthy ancient terroir of Burgundy and the fruity accessibility of California Pinots. When I taste them I feel like I not only understand Pinot Noir from Oregon, but also the process of making wine in Oregon. It is not an ancient tradition like Burgundy, it is a struggle to reveal exactly what the Willamette valley is, and a lot of the people who work there are entrepreneurs, not sons and daughters of wine royalty (though there are some of those too). They are figuring out the land year to year just as I am figuring out my palate day to day.

Would I suggest ordering a case of Anne Amie immediately after reading this? Maybe not… but if you see it in a store, know that it is wonderful and affordable, and pairs well with most things that people cook at home.

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