02 The Eyrie Vineyards, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Reserve
Love is an iterative process. It changes you, you change the one you love, and it takes a little editing, fidgeting maybe, to get it all to work out in the end. I know wine changes. Usually, it goes bad. I know I change. Quickly get sick of the wine I might've drank all summer long last year. But rarely do we both change right enough to know each other better. One year after my first, the 02 Eyrie Reserve pinot--one of son Jason's final wines under the tutelage of Papa Pinot David Lett--is a complete masterpiece. It hates me, tastes odd, and leaves me wanting more. This is in fact the way I hope to age, mature, but still robust and full of life. The wine has somehow picked up intensity and is currently a cliffhanging invitation to drink again next year, the year after, and every year until David returns. I like David's wines because they always seemed more "Burgundian" than Burgundian wine. People love to throw that word around. It's come to mean light or elegant, as if anything that arouses so much passion and lust could ever be those two things. I read "Burgundian" a little differently; it means committed. It means we believe in this soil, or we'll push through and try to harvest through the rain; we'll drink what we want with what we want to eat, and sometimes whatever's in the garden will do just fine. When I first tried David's 2002 pinot last May, I could tell it had some legs. It was plush, at times sweet, and really little like the image of Eyrie I had in my head. But I could hear him, or my impersonation of a man I regret never having met, sweet, raspy, and tart, saying this is what the wine is, this is what it was when the oldest Oregon pinot vines were planted in 1966, I love you, and shut up.