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 Pommard clone blend represents our very best expression of vintage and vigneron.

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 18 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: Pommard Red. Montmorency cherry, red raspberries, red currants, sandalwood, tilled earth and tamarind allure to a fully expressive palate interleaved with deep red fruits, refined whole cluster stem tannins and vivacious acidity. Elegantly poised and no rough edges to speak of, she’s that kinda girl. Unfined and unfiltered.

Culinary Inclinations: Roast duck breast with crispy skin over a bed of garlic and pancetta sautéed morel mushrooms with broccolini and chipotle spiced polenta cakes.

Pommard Clone Pinot Noir Accolades:

2015 Pommard Clone

Translucent red. Pungent red and dark fruit liqueur, candied rose, star anise and woodsmoke aromas show sharp delineation and a hint of licorice. Palate-staining, impressively concentrated blackberry, cherry and spicecake flavors open up steadily through the mid-palate, picking up smoky minerals, cola nuances and showing a suave, supple texture. Rich and broad, in the style of this hot vintage, but there's plenty of energy here as well. Finishes with powerful, floral-dominated thrust and velvety tannins that fold smoothly into the wine's plush fruit. I suspect that this wine will experience a long aging curve based on its depth of fruit. (raised in a 50/50 combination of once-used and neutral French oak barrels)

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, June 2019 - 94 points

2014 Pommard Clone

Pommard Red. Fully developed aromatics provide a carousel of ever changing aromas thoroughly stimulating all frontal lobe pleasure synapses. The palate experience validates the promise of the vintage with a deep core of pure Pinot Noir within the construct of refined stem tannins and ever present acidity. Unfined and unfiltered.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright-rimmed ruby. Expansive red and dark berry liqueur, Asian spice and incense aromas develop cola and smoky mineral nuances in the glass. Sappy, sweet and focused on the palate, offering juicy raspberry, boysenberry and rose pastille flavors joined by suggestions of five-spice powder. Smooth and seamless in texture, showing suave, harmonious tannins and impressive, floral-driven persistence.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2018 - 93 points

2013 Pommard Clone

Rolltide red lures your senses into a Pommard induced realm where the heady scents of heirloom rose, spice cake, raspberry coulis and cocoa dusted almonds evoke desire - and we are just getting started. Pure, broad and deep ripe red fruit flavors provide an unbounded pleasure, which is followed on directly by the precision cut of firm acidity and spine tingling stem tannins evolving into a seemingly endless finish. Unfined and unfiltered.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright red. Lively, spice- and smoke-tinged red currant and cherry aromas and flavors show good clarity and pick up floral and underbrush nuances with air. Juicy, focused and light on its feet, showing good energy and cut on the incisive finish, which betrays just a whisper of gentle tannins. This Pinot is drinking well right now.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2018 - 90 points

2012 Pommard Clone

Deep Pommard red. Heady aromas of black raspberry compote, wild cherry, freshly tilled earth, Darjeeling tea, coriander and ginger linger. An intriguing experience of intertwined vivacious fruit character, elegant texture, racy acidity and fine grained stem tannin projects onto the palate. The timeless afterglow echoes the inherent virtue of Pommard.  Unfined and unfiltered.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright red. Mineral-accented black raspberry and cherry cola aromas are sharpened by a mineral nuance and a hint of Asian spices. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering alluringly sweet red and dark berry flavors that deepen slowly and expand with air. Shows superb clarity on a long, spice-tinged finish that features harmonious tannins and an echo of spicecake.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, December 2016 - 92 points

Fermented with whole cluster and feral yeasts from the vineyard. Aged for a minimum of 18 months in French oak barrels. Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Whole cluster imbued nose featuring aromas of black cherry, cola, loads of spice and toast. The delicious core of sweet cherry, raspberry and spice flavors light up the palate. The ripe tannins are well matched, oak adds a deft touch of seasoning, and the finish hangs on until you take another sip.

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

2011 Pommard Clone

Pommard red. Perfumed aromas of exotic spices beckon from the glass headlining allspice, cinnamon, coriander and potpourri. This suave wine meanders through the palate pushing all the right buttons at just the right times. Fine grained stem tannins and firm acidity culminate in an expansive and permeating finish. Unfined and unfiltered. 45 cases produced.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Vivid red. Heady, spice-accented aromas of fresh red berries, candied rose and blood orange, with a mineral nuance building in the glass. Taut, focused and appealingly sweet on the palate, offering intense raspberry and rose pastille flavors with hints of white pepper and five-spice powder. Densely packed yet graceful, finishing with strong thrust and silky tannins that intertwine with wine's vibrant fruit.

          - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, October 2015 - 91 points

The star of the single-clone lineup, this feels like a truly complete wine, with pinpoint focus. Complex fruit flavors mix berries and cherries with a touch of spice. Lively and detailed, this perfectly balanced wine does not push too hard, and delivers intriguing aromatics threaded with baking spices and a lingering finish.

          - Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, June 2015 – 92 points, Cellar Selection

2010 Pommard Clone

Burmese Ruby red opens for Montmorency cherry, cinnamon, sandalwood and crushed fresh red raspberries. Lithe and elegant on the palate providing red fruits interleaved with teasing acidity while entertaining invigorating tannins. A lengthy, yet weightless finish lingers with intent. Unfined and unfiltered. 45 cases produced.

          - Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes

Bright red. Vibrant mineral- and spice-laced red berry and floral pastille scents are given depth by notes of licorice and cola. Lithe and sharply focused on the palate, offering gently sweet strawberry and cherry flavors that put on weight and gain spiciness with aeration. Pure, focused and lively on the strikingly long finish, which is framed by silky tannins and brightened by a tangy blood orange note.

          - Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2014 – 93 points​

Pommard Clone Pinot Noir

Pommard Clone is a barrel selection of our most intriguing Estate grown Pommard clone Pinot Noir.

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 widespread acclaim and notoriety.

There is a very good reason the Pommard clone was catching on. The Pommard clone represents all that is inherently beautiful in Pinot Noir. It is grown on all types of soils and is unique in its ability to reflect vineyard specific splendor, nuances and vintage conditions. While the eyes are the window into the soul, the Pommard clone expresses the inherent beauty of our vineyard through the lens of the vintage.