Tag Archives: Pinot Noir

Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2014

90+ Pinot Noir – Wine Raters Disagreed

Archery Summit’s 2014 Arcus Estate, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 

It happens all the time:  Experts disagree on a wine’s rating.  Wine Spectator gave the Archery Summit Arcus Estate Pinot Noir 94 points; Wine Enthusiast, 92 points and Wine Advocate, 90 points.  Are we being fooled, and by whom, when a four-point spread in the hotly contested 90-94 range is claimed by tasters with reputations?

Archery Summit’s Evaluation:

“Lavish, dramatic, classic” is the winery’s claim for a wine from its famous vineyard.  The winery’s writeup features flavors of “…raspberry, wild strawberry and fresh red cherries supported by savory nori and cocoa powder.  The palate displays raspberry, blackberry and Oregon blackcap, spice box and lavender incense.”

My Evaluation of this Pinot Noir:

To me, raspberry, red cherry and blackberry feature on the nose with bright spice notes — very inviting and refreshing.  The depth of flavor, complexity and life in the wine gives it an immediate character.  Second thoughts emphasize the vibrant but balanced nose.  The acid and fruit mingle to provide a memorable finish that again stands out different from typical expectations, while being highly rewarding and cleansing.  It is long on fruit flavors.

Here’s another opinion: “Rich, fruity, plenty of acid, well balanced; some minerality, but it is not up front; red fruit, cherry, red plum; the finish is long and bright.  Taste this wine and think your way through its character and its components.  So, what about the rating?

Other Factors Affect Ratings

Ratings have a lot to do with companions as well as quality evaluations.  The quality of winemaking and the balance of its full flavors, acid and alcohol is excellent in this Pinot Noir.  In comparison to other great wines, it shines among them.

Rating:  Its character elevates it to 94.  90 seems, to me, not to recognize its uniqueness.

Emotional rating:  Absolutely great!

Availability: From the winery.

Hillside Vineyards

A Great Archery Summit Wine!

Archery Summit Ribbon Ridge, Looney Vineyard, 2014

We know Archery Summit for richer flavors in their Pinot Noir due to their closely planted vines.


Deep ruby color with an attractive crimson edge shows off the very well extracted wine that is characteristic of their product.  The crimson edge fades to a clear ring of glycerol.


Aromas are very well married.   The combination of a deep red fruit and rich oak aroma gives this wine a its full character — far richer than most Pinot Noir.  It makes this a Pinot Noir that you certainly want to to examine.  Many lighter Pinots simply walk in a different neighborhood.  On examination, we note a perfect balance and hidden in the marriage, we find gun smoke, cocoa, vanilla, clove, with plum, raspberry and darker fruits deepening the nose.

On the Palate, Archery Summit scores highly, too:

On the palate, the experience is of a silky texture and tannins that are as fine as any.  Again, the flavors are married and form a pleasant experience.  It finishes with equal harmony to a long slowly fading experience of its many flavors.

This is simply a great wine.

Rating:  94+

Emotional rating:  Extremely satisfying and smoothly pleasant

Availability:  Try winesearcher.com

A Pinot Noir for Special Moments

Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2012, Arcus Estate

Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2012, Arcus Estate

Archery Summit — Arcus Estate 2012 Pinot Noir

This is a winery to watch and a wine to savor in those very special moments.  The vines are planted closer together than is the usual practice in the Willamette Valley of Oregon — more like the Burgundy vineyards.  Having to fight for nutrients with the other vines in close proximity, the struggle ends, as in much of nature, with a greater strength.  This vintage ripened well, as is seen first in the unusual depth of color.  The alcohol reached 14.5% in this wine of excellent balance!  Acids, tannins, alcohol, and flavors form a homogenous unit of tasteful pleasure.

The oak treatment is also held in balance and plays a support role to the flavors of the fruit.  Blackberry and dark cherry with accompanying hints of leather and coffee underlined with a rich dark chocolate base adorn a wine that keeps its intensity long after it is opened and finishes with a long rich finish.  No edges destroy its soft and full feel and it coats the palate, adding to its fullness.

The flavors are well married and play together in satisfying harmony.  This is, in my judgment, their best vineyard.

Rating 92

Emotional rating:  A conjunctive wine that pleases all the way from sight to sip to final bow.

Available:  Try wine.com and the winery itself, as it ships to a number of states.

Rich Pinot Noir Found in Wairau Valley, NZ

Dog Point Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand

Dog Point Pinot Noir 2012, Wairau Valley, New Zealand

Dog Point Pinot Noir 2012, Wairau Valley, New Zealand

I have tasted one other rich Pinot Noir from the Wairau Valley that was so rich and velvety that it drew my mind to the Grand Crus of Burgundy.  Not that it was the equal of a Grand Cru, but it came so very, very close.

This one is another stellar example: Dog Point, from a vineyard on the Southern side of the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, close to the site of the Marlborough Wine Festival where New Zealand wines are celebrated in February annually.  Lighter soils here give way to more clay and a blend of wine growing techniques (both traditional and modern are used).  The other Pinot I mentioned also came from soils with a heavier clay content.  It could be true in Marlborough that the heavier the soil, the fuller the wine.

This wine offers an explosion of flavors.  Cedar, raspberry, and licorice dominate in this very deep ruby wine.  Find the many other fringe flavors as you contemplate and  evaluate its complex gifts.  The mouthfeel is positively velvety, which is what I want in an excellent Pinot Noir.  It floods the mouth with fruit — instant and lasting — and progresses to an abundant finish.  You’ll continue to taste the flavors for a long, long time.

Pinot Noir offers wines from lighter versions (which can satisfy and call for food to round out their offering) to the likes of this one.  It is a wine that asks for drinking with deep meditation and a wine that gives even “pleasure” a nuance to its meaning that enriches not only the word but our experiences.

If you want a Pinot Noir with power and finesse, try this one.

Rating: 94

Emotional rating:  I’m still experiencing.  Don’t disturb me!

Available from wine.com

Another Beautiful Pinot Noir from New Zealand!

Matua Pinot Noir Marlborough, New Zealand, 2013

Matua Pinot Noir 2013

Matua Pinot Noir 2013

Travel west from Blenheim, Marlborough’s main city, on the south side of the Wairau valley and turn into the unimpressive parking lot of Matua’s tasting room.  You’re faced with a foot bridge across a dry ditch to an unusual tasting room that sits on the edge of the vineyard. Just to relax among the grapes and taste Pinot’s of this remarkable valley makes you want to come back.  The service and the experience is exceptional!

Pinot Noir, the second grape for which New Zealand is well known and the one some say will overtake the popularity of Sauvignon Blanc, creates wines of considerable variation in styles.  The grape’s place in the world of wine appreciation is well known, but we are still finding out what it can do in the far flung regions of the world where it is being seriously exploited and its potential understood.  It takes a long time (many years) to find out what a grape needs in vineyard care and skilled vinification.  The vagaries of the vintage add to the yearly accumulation of knowledge and we will see Pinot Noirs from New Zealand make ever significant strides in quality and style.  Many are available and are worthy of your interest.

A brilliant, light ruby, this 2013 Matua Pinot Noir with a fresh and lively acid base will leave you salivating.  It balances fresh cherry fruit with waves of vanilla and hints of roasted nuts on the nose.  Leather notes mingled with fine tannins play all the way to a smooth but not long finish.  Some New Zealand Pinot Noirs can be simple in style, yet so fulfilling.  This is not a very complex wine, but it is delightful in its harmonious presentation of flavors.  It’s a wine of finesse with a nice 13% alcohol.

Rating: 88

Emotional rating: With pork and salmon, it will make for an emotional delight.

Search for a vendor near you on www.wine-searcher.com.  You can probably find it near the very reasonable price of $14 USD.


EXPERIENCING COLORADO WINE, Volume 2: The Whites and Rosés! 



You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my books, “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 1 – The Dry Red Wines ” and “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 2 – The Whites and Rosés.”  Volume 1 also provides descriptions of the pairing of several Colorado wines with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.

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These books entertain, educate, and entice readers to experience Colorado wine!Experiencing Colorado Red Print ReadyExperiencing-Colorado-White-Cover-Web