Vino Vasai, Chehalem Mountains (Willamette Valley, Oregon) Pinot Noir Estate Reserve 2018

($58):  I was surprised and did a double take as I pulled the cork. There, in bold letters, was Potter’s Vineyard.  I figured somebody screwed up somewhere.  No, it turns out that Vino Vasai, Italian for potter’s wine, explains why the cork proclaims that name.  Weighing in at a stated 13.9 percent alcohol, it’s a bold style of Pinot Noir, but thankfully it is balanced and not overblown.  Indeed, lovely firmness — the Chehalem Mountains AVA speaking — and a delightful hint of bitterness in the finish reinforce the wine’s stature.  This youthful, black fruited Pinot Noir, a barrel selection, has plenty of savory influences and will benefit from a few years of bottle aging to allow the fruit and earthier components to merge. They make fewer than 150 cases a year, so it may be tough to find.  Mind you, it’s worth the search.
93 Michael Apstein May 24, 2022