Haden Fig – Eola Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2013

If there’s one thing that’s exactly the same for me living in Spain as it was living in California, it’s the amount of wine from the Willamette Valley in Oregon that I drink which is to say, very little. This isn’t by design but more availability. Despite Willamette being a West Coast region, what you’d often find on wine menus in San Francisco was largely the local production of Napa, Sonoma, and a few others. There hadn’t been a tremendous amount of interest in Willamette, despite the theoretical “Sideways Bump” in terms of interest for Pinot Noir.

Somewhere around 2010 this changed a great deal as the winemakers stopped trying to make big, thumping Pinot and focused more on emulating Burgundy, albeit still with a New World fleck of spice and dynamism. Paying a trip up there in 2011, just before moving to Spain, I was most definitely intrigued which is why on my most recent trip back to San Francisco, I sought out Oregon Pinots and was overall very much impressed at the rapid adoption of this new approach and overall luscious quality of the wines. It needs to be noted that not all producers have had a “Come to Beaune” moment yet and there still are a number of punchy Pinots to be found, if that’s your thing.

This bottle by Haden Fig is one I’d picked up after a Cava de Paratge tasting at The Barrel Room given that owner, Sarah Trubnick was highly recommending it. She didn’t lead me astray and the winemaker, Erin Nuccio has really created a fresh take on the wines of Willamette. He appears to produce wines from most of the sub AVAs of Willamette (of which there are currently six) and this particular bottle is from Eola Amity Hills. Whether or not you can truly taste that it carries the mark of the zone is up for debate but what it does show the excellence that can be attained from Pinot Noir in Willamette Valley these days.

Eola Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2013
Garnet with a rose rim. Crisp red cherry and fresh cranberry, black pepper, crisp pepper, red licorice, wonderfully bright. Tart red fruit, medium plus acidity, medium alcohol, longer, lilting finish.

100% Pinot Noir 13.5% $25