I love the rush I get when I walk to the wine aisle of my local grocery store. The mixed feeling of curiosity and excitement always get me. There are just so many fantastic, local options that I’m dying to try. Since the weather has turned to its usual November self, red wines have been popping out at me once again. When I saw a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir for under $20, I knew I had to go for it.
Willamette Valley is known for its fantastic Pinot Noirs. It’s just a fact that the climate and soils aid in creating some really intricate and complex wines. I was especially excited when I saw that the wine was made from grapes grown in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA (American Viticulture Area). I’ve travelled quite a bit throughout the region and love the wines that are coming from that area. Cherry Hill Winery’s 2012 Estate Pinot Noir really impressed.
Cherry Hill Winery was founded in the 1990’s by William Hill, a native to California who helped establish the Napa Valley wine region. He saw the potential in the moist soils in the Eola-Amity area, and planted three separate parcels of pinot noir grapes. The name Cherry Hill comes from the areas rich agricultural history. Royal Ann Cherries grew there for many years before it was converted to a vineyard. Now owned by Mike Sweeney, the winery produces only Pinot Noir grapes on their 150 acre lot. They are at the perfect elevation, have the perfect soil, and climate to produce premium pinot noir grapes.
If you are looking for a big, bold, complex red wine – look no further. Twenty twelve was a juicy year for wines and this pinot reflects that perfectly. In the glass it poured a rich purple-ruby color. On the nose it smelled of cloves and fall leaves. Very earthy and acidic. The earthiness continued on the first sip as well. Flavors of black fruit (blackberries and black currants) really popped, and it ended with a slight spice reminiscent of horseradish. Not too spicy of course, but just enough to add a little complexity to it. The finish on this wine was smooth, with a hint of tannins. A thoroughly enjoyable experience all around.
I would recommend pairing a roasted beet salad with goat cheese and local hazelnuts with this wine. Although a slow cooked pot roast would also be a great option. I picked up this bottle for about $15 – and it was a steal. Cheers!