I received 2 bottles of this wine almost a year ago, thanks to the good folks at Willamette Valley Vineyards—a flattering ‘Welcome to Oregon’ gift that was hand delivered to me a few weeks after settling in. I opened the first bottle while I was still in Oregon, but it wasn’t the right time to write about it.
This is an interesting wine, and at the time, was still too young. It’s interesting for a few simple reasons: first, it’s not cheap, about $45, and far too often, as the price of a wine goes up, so does the ripeness, richness and oak treatment—in essence, a more flamboyant version of a wine’s baby brother. It’s one of the reasons I often gravitate toward base Willamette Valley wines; they don’t try as hard and often deliver the balance I prefer.
The South Block Pinot Noir is beautifully tart, the acid is pronounced, and the oak, regardless of what percentage was new, doesn’t show at all. The flavor profile revolves around red fruit, spice and florals—first tier ripeness blending strawberry, tart cherry, rhubarb and apple. This wine is age-worthy, point scores be damed, and will never be anything less than pretty and complex. It’s far more in tune with young Burgundy than expensive new world Pinot Noir. It’s not scared to be a wine worth waiting for. Too many winemakers aren’t comfortable making expensive wines that aren’t totally indulgent. More wines should be made like this.