02 The Eyrie Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Reserve
The math is complicated. But if you want to make a wine that shows the greatness of Oregon, it must taste like something only Burgundy could make... in Oregon. At a time, still, when the Old World is being defined by its redefinition of New World wines--adding more modern oak, more modern concentration, and even more modern price tags--the 02 Eyrie dares to go retro--pink pumps, bleached jeans, and all. And as the wine warms from cellar temp up, you feel like you could be riding your fixed-gear vintage Peugeot through the French countryside north from seasoned Pommard through the black angel of Vosne-Romanee and finally into the rotting corpse of Gevrey-Chambertin, all the while kids and grandmeres handing off Solo cups of local pinot noir. That is the voyage this wine takes you on--at once the most expressive and subtle Eyrie wines of the decade. It's a pinot everyone should aspire to make if they wanted to stop selling wine and start drinking their glut instead. Because, like the great 98 Tall Poppy, this is a wine you will love to hate. But its tart red cherries morph into pitless black cherry flesh, its funk into a mid-fall walk through the woods, its mouthwatering acidity into early-picked strawberries and sweet tarragon tea, its peppery finish into the fruit of Turkish tobacco. I don't know whether to be apologetic or thankful. Am I sinning, or is this redemption?