• Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011 94

    Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011

    Sale $45.97

    Reg. $52.00

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    94 Robert Parker, Jr.'s Wine Advocate

    For you, winelovers, we want only the best. This Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Pinot Noir is our spring gift to you. Outstandingly delicious, it is ready to enjoy now, or it can spend a few years in your cellar. If you're pouring this beautifully balanced Basalt Block with hors d'oeuvres, we recommend duck potstickers with a soy-scallion dipping sauce. The elegant, pure facets of red and black berry fruit, gossamer-like tannins, earthiness and spot-on minerality make this Willamette Valley Pinot the perfect match for lean beef, duck, salmon, tuna and even chicken. For the entree, try this beautiful Brittan with its classic partner: salmon. Marinate it with orange zest and brown sugar, rub it with chopped garlic, and then grill it on a cedar plank. We're pretty sure you won't be disappointed. Grilled filet mignon with gorgonzola butter and skinny green beans will bring out the gorgeous tannins and earthy side of this lovely red. For a lunch dish, we love the varied flavors of this Pinot with a veal tonnato sprinkled with tangy capers. If it's to accompany the last course, we say unleash it with a tart cherry pie enrobed in an ethereally flaky crust and just listen to the murmurs of delight. If cheese is your preference, make it a French Chaumes. It has a delightfully mild, nutty, almost meaty taste which is fabulous with this Oregon red. Cheers to you winelovers!!

    Robert Parker, Jr.'s Wine Advocate: "Brittan��_�s 2011 Pinot Noir Basalt Block delivers an impressively sappy and dense, vibrant and buoyant combination of tart red currant and blackberry with clean red meat juiciness; salt; crushed stone; and somehow, mysteriously crystalline traces. Such a range of complexity across fruit, animal, and mineral dimensions in such a still youthful wine is among the striking aspects of Brittan��_�s and his vineyard��_�s talents, as is their sense of energy, which unsurprisingly is almost palate-shaking on the present occasion, kinetics being another forte of the 2011 vintage. The tannins here are ultra-fine (even if the corresponding Gestalt Block bottling goes them one better!) and the finish is every bit as mouth-coating as it is vibratory. I suspect this will continue to impress through at least 2022.

    I received an extensive tour this year of the breezy, basaltic 180 degree hillside south of McMinnville that veteran California winemaker Robert Brittan ��_��_��_ at 25 acres and counting ��_��_��_ continues to plant, aided by his wife and industry veteran Ellen; and assistant winemaker Vince Vidrine.  I had the simultaneous opportunity to taste a near-complete set of Brittan Estate wines to date.  A personal encounter with these singular wines should be high on the to-do list of any wine lover ��_��_��_ not just Pinotphile ��_��_��_ who hasn��_�t yet had the experience.Over and beyond his Pinot Noirs, Brittan��_�s estate essays in Chardonnay and Syrah have been nothing less than revelatory. And there will in future be Pinot Meunier, as well as a field blend featuring a diverse range of head-pruned Mediterranean varieties. That said, Chardonnay and Syrah may have met more than their match in 2011 and Brittan had already determined at the time of my visit not to bottle the former. Brittan��_�s Gestalt Block features incredibly dense and heavy (possibly quite young) basalt rock that is structurally entirely distinct from the sort that��_�s found elsewhere on his property and underlies much of the Willamette Valley; and other things are equal enough that it��_�s hard to avoid crediting geology with a decisive role in accounting for the unique characteristics of Pinot Noir from this block. Speaking of geology��_�s potentially explanatory role, I know of very few wine growers who are as keenly interested or involved in studying the interfaces between rock and root; soil, microflora and plant metabolism than Brittan, who comes from a family full of scientists. And speaking of flora, Brittan��_�s projects for studying and encouraging diversity of flora and fauna across his property ��_��_��_ but especially the microorganisms that populate his grapes��_� skins ��_��_��_ are far-reaching and quite possibly of profound importance for understanding and promoting wine quality. Most organic viticulture as practiced today, he opines, ��_��_��_dumps huge amounts of sulfur on the vines that almost completely obliterates anything that grows on those clusters and brings a huge sulfur load into the winery. This is one reason we see so much reduction, especially in Willamette Pinot Noir.��_� Since there��_�s no aquifer on Brittan��_�s huge hillside, he is also keenly interested in dry-farming, although drip-lines are utilized in order to get vines past infancy, and were also employed briefly across the property during the dry summer of 2012. The 2011 vintage Pinots were harvested in late October and early November at just under 13% natural alcohol, and not chaptalized. For practical reasons of impending 2012 harvest, Brittan still bottled them, as is his routine, in September. He reports thicker skins ��_��_��_ hence, more phenolic material ��_��_��_ in 2011 than in 2010, offering an ideal opportunity to pursue his aims of ��_��_��_giving the wines a chance to find their balance through extended maceration. If you do tannin analysis of my 2011 Gestalt Block Pinot,��_� he notes, ��_��_��_it will blow away most Syrahs. Yet it amazes me that they��_�re so fine, even elegant, for as massive as they are.��_� It does me, too!" Oct 2013

    Winery: "The 2011 vintage in the Willamette Valley was a cool and late ripening vintage that produced wines with vibrant flavors of raspberries, boysenberries and exotic spice notes of anise and cardamom, with undertones of minerality, gunpowder and gravel dust. The clarity of the fruit is immediate on the palette, with bright acid leading into a supple but deeply structured mid-palate. The acid-driven core rounded by soft tannins carries through purposefully yet lithely, giving way to a lengthy and elegant finish of dark raspberry and plum."

    Bottle: 750ml, cork
    Varietal: Pinot Noir
    Aging: 9 months in French Oak barrels, approximately
    25% new
    Alcohol: 13.2%
    Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
    Production (dozen bottles)
    limited at 725