Editor’s note: Ken Wright 2012 Abbott Claim Vineyard Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton District, $65) was selected as the No. 1 pick in Wine Enthusiast’s 2014 Enthusiast 100. The wine was awarded the highest honor by Wine Enthusiast’s tasting panel, which reviewed more than 17,500 wines from around the globe, covering myriad regions, styles, and prices. Nomacorc is proud to have worked with Ken Wright Cellars for more than 10 years.
It’s difficult to access international wines in Argentina, and even more so limited-production library wines from boutique wineries like Ken Wright Cellars. So it’s a rare pleasure to taste a gem from Wright, who, with over 30 years in the industry, is considered one of the founding fathers of Oregon Pinot. Wright is also a leader in the organization of the six American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the Northern Willamette Valley.
The 2005 Abbott Claim Vineyard was a red cherry color with garnet hues. The depth of color was medium, characteristic of Pinot Noir. In the nose, I found a complex and elegant Pinot Noir that combined good fruit expression—blueberries, currant and blackberries, ripe cherries—with healthy evolution notes. Secondary aromas included baking spice, white chocolate, and vanilla, along with hints of mineral and earthiness.
On the primary palate, the wine was refreshing with a subtle velvety texture. Then followed a rich mouth-feel, with hints of berry jam, a slightly lighter body, and more rounded tannins. It had a remarkably long finish and the intense fruit flavors lingered long after the liquid was gone. What surprised me most was its liveliness despite being nine years old. In a blind tasting, I’d have said that it was much younger, from either 2009 or 2010.
I’d recommend pairing it with dishes like duck breast or simply with aged cheeses, dried fruits, and nuts.