Archery Summit 2006 Premier Cuvee pinot noir (Oregon)

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on October 12, 2009:

The 2009 Travelocity “Rudeness” poll states “loud talking or swearing” is the most rude or irritating behavior on a plane. I would disagree with that as I have been the victim of those who, freshly out of the lavatory, walk by my aisle seat and leave a wave of ‘funk’ that practically burns the hairs off my eyelids. A Houston man was found sleeping with a corpse in the closet of a vacant home. Now we know where the mayor of Seattle was all this time! A Pennsylvania man slept by himself in his home…but it caught fire and he finally woke up a couple hours later when the firemen were walking through the ashes. This guy will not be driving me home after a night of drinking.

Archery Summit has been around since at least 1995 (the Estate vines were planted in 1994) making wines in a first-class facility. Located halfway between the farm towns of Dundee and Dayton just off Hwy 99W and about an hour southwest of Portland, the winery has its own staff, and on five floors, utilizes good ol’ gravity-flow where grapes are destemmed on the top floor and the process ends with the juice in barrel, aging in caves 60 feet below the vineyard, ala Cote d’Or style. The caves provide a natural 55-59 degree environment with less than 75% humidity. “Pump” is a curse word in this locale. The winery has five vineyards, four of which are in the prime Dundee Hills AVA. Anna Matzinger has been on the winemaking team since ’99 and became the winemaker in 2002.

In complying with proposed blogging restrictions, I am a standing member of the A-list wine club. After all, that’s the only way to acquire the single-vineyard jewels from this highly regarded pinot noir maker. I agree, they do make an Estate pinot noir for a crazy price of $150, but I was crazy enough to buy one. Thankfully, there are crazier prices for a select other boutique pinot noir wineries in that state that I have zero interest in purchasing.

This Premier Cuvee is a blend of their four vineyard Estates: Arcus, Red Hills, Renegade Ridge, and their $$$ Archery Summit Estate, and their one Ribbon Ridge AVA vineyard, Looney Vineyard. This is their entry level pinot, if you call $45 a bottle such, and has been available from a few select retailers around town. To give you some background, “entry level” Oregon pinots generally cost between $16 and $35 and I’m talkin’ the reputable stuff. This isn’t Blue Fin by any measure ($4.99 at Trader Joes…and a future review). Archery Summit is regarded as one of the top pinot producers in Oregon and is backed up by Portland Monthly magazine’s choice of the 2006 Red Hills Estate as the #1 Oregon wine, out of 650 selections.

Tonight’s pairing was hit-and-miss. The “hit” was, of course, a new slab of Beecher’s Smoked Flagship cheese ($20/lb) along with Parmesan and Basil Wheat Thins. The “miss” was my dad’s uneducated decision to gulp some red table grapes with it. Big mistake.

Oregon pinot noir is the perfect match for another Northwest delicacy… grilled or baked moist, flaky salmon. Did you take copious notes on that last statement? My own preference is to sling pinot noir on its own. From the bouquet down to the palate, this is a crowd-pleasing, scene-stealing pageant beauty. And while I have not wasted my time watching the movie “Sideways” (it’s just a movie, folks), I can say I enjoy both Oregon pinot noir and Washington merlot with equal affection and admiration.

Color: a very sexy Caribbean-clear scarlet red velvet. Nose: black cherry jello, Rainier cherries jubilee, a dozen red roses, and Madagascar vanilla. Mouthfeel: luscious. Flavors: deep red cherries, dash of freshly-picked blackberries, old cement on a rockwall, and a fleeting scent of basil. Tail trail: 5 seconds.

Willamette Valley AVA. Alcohol: 14.2% Willamette Valley AVA. Rated: 89. Value: $38. Paid: $36. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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