2006 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir | VailDaily.com

2006 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir

Jarrett Osborn

Another Thanksgiving wine is on tap, this time an all-purpose Pinot Noir from Oregon that pairs well with a great variety of food, just like the great variety of food at your Thanksgiving dinner! Open the 2006 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir, from the Willamette Valley. Owner Bernard Lacroute produces several single vineyard wines from their 67 acres of Pinot Noir vines, and this is a blend of the softer, ready-to-drink lots from these vineyards. Brambly berries and light sandalwood aromas and flavors jump out of the glass, with just enough toasty oak to augment, not mask, the lovely fruit. Winemaker Thibaud Mandet achieves this balance by ageing the individual lots for 10 months in French oak barrels, of which 20 percent are new. A little white pepper spice, earth, and cola come through on the finish, with no discernible tannins and light acidity.

Pinot Noir is the most versatile wine to pair with food, so it is perfect for turkey, ham, stuffing, even yams, as long as they are not too sweet. Try the Willakenzie with roast duck or grilled salmon for a particular treat. This wine is bottled with a screwtop. It is lovely now, and will age just fine for 2-3 years. The 2006 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir is $26.

In 1991, Bernard Lacroute purchased the pasture land that would become Willakenzie Estate. He planted the vineyards one year later, and built a gravity-flow winery in 1995. Gravity-flow winery means the grapes, juice, and wine are not pumped from tank to barrel to bottle. The grapes are dropped in the destemmer, then fall via gravity into their fermenters. The must is then poured into barrels, again using gravity, not mechanical pumps. This lack of “beating up the fruit” results in softer, more delicate nuances and flavors.

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