Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir

Wadenswil Clone is a 2 barrel selection of our most intriguing Estate grown Wadenswil clone Pinot Noir. Follow this link for Interview with a Clone - Wadenswil 2A.

The pioneers who began planting Pinot Noir in the North Willamette Valley began primarily with 2 clones of Pinot Noir – Pommard (French, of course) and Wadenswil (Swiss.) As the vines matured, high quality wines from both clones were grown in the valley, but the Pommard clone was gaining wide spread acclaim and notoriety.

It seems that the Wadenswil clone was not well suited to the land it was being planted to. Most of the early plantings were done on basalt based soils such as Jory. However success leaves clues, and we did discover something others may have missed.

When planning our vineyard, we were particularly intrigued with the Wadenswil clone wines we had experienced from sedimentary soil vineyards. The fragrant, intense, laser focused fruit aromas were relentless. It is no accident, but a strategic choice that we have several of our sedimentary soil vineyard blocks planted to the Wadenswil clone.

Further to the point, it seems that every year one of these Wadenswil blocks is a cellar favorite and a component of “The Reserve.”

It may seem that we go to a good deal of trouble to explain an inconsequential event, but it is not so. Wadenswil clone Pinot Noir grown on our sedimentary soils is, for us, what Pinot Noir is all about. The full range of Pinot Noir aromas and flavors along with a dizzying array of mid-palate textures and reverberating acidity define the Wadenswil clone.

As the wine maturates in barrel, we are continually “thieving” and evaluating each barrel. While written records are very important, especially as we age, our mental and physical impression of each wine drives us.  As each sample is tasted and re-tasted, we begin to better understand what each blend represents and the promise it holds for future development.

While The Reserve is a blend of our very favorite barrels from the vintage, the Wadenswil clone blend represents our best expression of this pioneering clone.

As is the case with all of our Pinot Noirs, this bottling is 100% Estate grown and hand harvested fruit. The individual blocks were fermented with whole clusters and indigenous yeast from the vineyard. In the cellar, we aged the individual lots in French oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months. The blend is a reflection of our soils, microclimates and stewardship of the land.​

The Vintage: Some like it hot, and if that is what you are into, then 2015 is your kind of vintage. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that. A clean, fully developed and relatively expressive vintage, 2015 (much like 2014) offers up a significant contrast to the frigidly cold yet scintillating vintages of 2010 and 2011. In the context of Pinot Noir vintages, there are showers and then there are growers.

We have grown wine in nearly the hottest and certainly the coldest vintages ever recorded in the Willamette Valley within a 6 year span. We have triumphed over vintages colder than Champagne, took what appeared to be rotted Chardonnay from Typhoon Pabuk and produced a Botrytis desert wine to rival Sauternes, sweltered under elevated evening temperatures and summer drought conditions that teased an unprecedented early harvest window. And, to borrow a line from Frank, “We did it our way.”

While some experienced pre-mature fermentation again this year, Ernie held out for rain before he pulled the trigger on Cluster Pluck 2015 (He looked so determined at midnight under the full moon doing the rain dance in block 2.) “Hey, whatever works...” Once again, this year the conditions were right for a sticky. This time it is Our Muse Viognier emulating the traditional late harvest beerenauslese style – complete with gold capsule.

You can read the full Harvest After Action Report (AAR) on our FLOG (Farming bLOG):


Tasting Notes: Rapunzel red. Wildflowers, red currents, raspberries, spicecake and tilled earth introduce a deeply concentrated palate expression that is not heavy but punctuated by firm acidity and structured stem tannins. As only Wadenswil can do.

Culinary Inclinations: Braised lamb shanks with white beans.

Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir Accolades:

2014 Wadenswil Clone

Plum Crazy - Redline Red. The namesake barrel behind this wine is number 426 and it held 225 liters of the most perfumed, evocative, carnal, and full throttle Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir (with “Sure-Grip” tannins) we have ever had the privilege to grow, harvest, ferment, barrel age, blend and bottle. For Farmin’ out Loud - This wine has torque! Some of you gearheads out there (and those who suffer them) may well recall another 426 that was topped with hemispherical combustion chambers and possessed the unique ability to strike fear into the hearts and minds of many a street racer and that engine displaced just 7 liters! If only Prince was a Mopar man… “Little red Hemi.”

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Limpid ruby-red. Highly perfumed aromas of black raspberry, cherry cola, exotic spices and sandalwood pick up a floral overtone as the wine stretches out. Palate-staining red berry preserve, blood orange, rose pastille and spicecake flavors become deeper with air while maintaining vivacity. Finishes on a suave floral note, displaying superb clarity, lingering spiciness and silky tannins that merge smoothly into the energetic fruit.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2018 - 93 points

2013 Wadenswil Clone

Retrorocket Red. Black cherry, Cardamom, Cola, Sandalwood and Tamarind introduce an endless mid-palate of blooming wildflowers and evolving textures that effectively defy the convention of language. Aromas and refined stem tannins bookend volumes of flavors and textures that are clearly not linear. They ebb and flow, while you curse and recurse – “What is that!?” This is Wadenswil clone dry-farmed on sedimentary soils and it is happening to you, right here, right now.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Brilliant red. Spicy and brisk on the nose, displaying lively red fruit, floral and succulent herb character and a hint of vanilla. Juicy, focused and light on its feet, offering energetic raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that take a sweeter turn as the wine opens up. Shows very good depth for the vintage, with no rough edges and a long, subtly tannic finish that leaves notes of cherry pit and star anise behind.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, December 2016 - 91 points

2012 Wadenswil Clone

​Recalcitrant red leads to aromas of afternoon sun warmed blackberries on the vine, black tea, cinnamon, and sandal wood spice bound in the restraints of bridle leather. Whoa, a strapping young wine. The palate is the traditional velvet glove of Wadenswil - elegance masking intention, but only more so as the vintage character expresses itself unabated. Primal fruit characters yield to texture and intensity. Muscular stem tannins and enabling acidity are the enforcers of a protracted and immeasurably pleasurable interlude.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Brilliant red. Potent mineral-tinged aromas of black raspberry, cherry-cola and smoky Indian spices, with a hint of lavender in the background. Concentrated yet lithe on the palate, offering intense dark berry compote and bitter cherry flavors that slowly become sweeter with aeration. Chewy tannins come on late, adding grip to the very long, penetrating, fruit-driven finish.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, October 2015 - 93 points

Clone is planted in sedimentary soil vineyard blocks. The best expression of this clone. Whole cluster fermented with feral yeasts and aged a minimum of 12 months in French oak barrels. Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Blackberry, forest floor and hazelnut aromas fill the glass. Substantial tannins support the mid weight plus core of luscious black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry fruits that have the right accent of spice. The haunting blackberry-filled finish makes quite an impression.

          - William "Rusty" Gaffney, M.D., PinotFile, September 2016 - 93 points

2011 Wadenswil Clone

Roadster red pearl essence - Ooh, that’s pretty! Ripe red raspberries, freshly grated ginger and five spice permeate the frontal lobe. Pure pleasure on the palate with flavors of freshly picked huckleberries, Tayberry preserves and a chewy texture stimulating the adrenal glands. Yet barely able to conceal the muscle of the vintage as is evident in the equally everlasting finish of finely grained stem tannins and 2011’s signature acidity.

          “Come on baby lets go outside. I think we're going for a very long long long ride.” – Boz Scaggs

Unfined and unfiltered. 49 case production.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Lucid red. Red and dark berries, incense, lavender and smoky minerals on the pungent, exotically perfumed nose. Juicy black raspberry and cherry flavors are lifted and given spine by juicy acidity and a hint of peppery spices. Finishes lithe, spicy and penetrating, with fine-grained tannins and emphatic floral and cherry pit qualities.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, October 2015 - 92 points

2010 Wadenswil Clone

Tempting red. Elegant high toned aromas of fresh red raspberry, citron lemon rose petal, cinnamon and clove are interleaved with the intrigue of incense. The scintillating texture on the palate reveals the bright red fruit of this cool Willamette Valley vintage, yet persists in developing a crescendo of sweet/tart red fruit, finely grained stem tannins, and cellar aging acidity. The finish is clean, savory and enduring. Unfined and unfiltered. 45 case production.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright red. High-pitched cherry and Asian spice aromas are deepened by notes of sassafras, woodsmoke and cola. Stains the palate with sappy red and dark berry flavors and tangy acidity adding lift and cut. An exotic floral nuance emerges with air and carries through a long, sweet and persistent finish. While this energetic pinot is built to age, it has a lot of immediate appeal.

          - Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, July 2013 - 93 points

Representing a mere two barrels, Amalie Robert’s 2010 Pinot Noir Wadenswil Clone exhibits tart-edged cherry and red raspberry accented by sassafras, nutmeg, cinnamon, licorice and black pepper. Brightly sustained, its significant share of stems and whole clusters (typical at this address) shows itself not only in herbal impingement and invigorating piquancy but also in a bittersweet floral overtone. This ought to be worth following through at least 2018.

          - David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate, October 2013 - 91 points

2009 Wadenswil Clone

Wanton red. Transcendental aromas of cigar box, wild rose-hip jam, fresh cranberry, savory and Five spice arouse the senses. Spend some quality time with this bouquet before the first sip reveals a sinewy texture that ripples across the palate revealing voluptuous tart red berries and coriander supported by whole-cluster stem tannins and teasing acidity. A lithe and well poised feminine wine in harmony with its masculine instincts. Unfined and unfiltered. 50 case production.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright red. Heady, exotic aromas of candied red fruits, sandalwood, lavender and rose. Juicy, sweet and focused, offering fresh raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that put on weight with air. Shows an array of spice and floral qualities on the finish, along with notes of candied raspberry and bitter rhubarb. Wild stuff, and balanced to age.

          - Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, July 2012 - 93 points

2008 Wadenswil Clone

Smoldering red. Cigar box, incense, pomegranate, and Texas Ruby Red grapefruit zest provide intrigue. The palate is focused and transcending with cerise sauvages noires, unsweetened cranberry, baking chocolate, five spice, and black tea leaves. The lengthy finish is characterized by the culmination of mid-palate acidity, fine grained stem tannins from extended barrel aging and the immediate desire for roast duck.

This wine is best described by a colloquial expression reserved for steam locomotives of old, “High, Wide and Hansom.” At a 50 case production, it is the only Pinot Noir we offer as a futures purchase. Unfined and unfiltered.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright red. Displays an array of red and dark berry scents, along with notes of cherry-cola, pungent herbs and baking spices. Sappy, deeply pitched cherry and black raspberry flavors are well concentrated but surprisingly lively, picking up a zesty mineral quality with air. Dusty tannins add grip to the sweet, incisive finish. This benefits a lot from air; it was fermented with all whole clusters, as are all the pinots here.

          - Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, July 2011 – 91+ points

A two-barrel lot selection of the Wadenswil clone, this dark red has a savory earthy foundation under black plum scents. With air, a smoky, wet soil note emerges ad the lush, dark cherry flavors gain prominence while brisk acidity and a modest stem-spice astringency shores up the finish. For coq au vin.

          - Wine & Spirits Magazine, April 2012 – 92 points, Year's Best Pinot Noir article