Estate Pinot Noir 2018
Winemaker Robert Brittan, a wine industry veteran with the experience of over 45 harvests, has always had a passion for Pinot noir; a love affair that began in the 1980’s when he made several vintages under his Britt Hill label with fruit from Carneros. In 2004, Robert decided to leave Stags’ Leap Winery in Napa and start a Pinot noir project in the cool climate of the northern Willamette Valley.
The Brittan Estate Vineyard lies just 12 miles southwest of McMinnville, tucked into the foothills of the Coast Range. The original 18 acres were planted in 2001, but due to the challenging nature of this site and limited topsoil, only eight acres survived. Since 2004 when Robert and Ellen purchased the vineyard, it has been an ongoing rehabilitation project: replanting, retraining, and learning the unique landscape that has become Brittan Vineyard.
The aim at Brittan Vineyards is to remove the hand of the winemaker during wine production. With this, minimal fuss and movement are trademarks of Robert’s style, producing wines of varietal complexity and nuance. After whole cluster pressing, the must ferments in barrel. Elevage occurs over 15 months in 15% new French oak.
The 2019 vintage was the coolest since 2015: warm during the main part of the growing season but cooling significantly towards harvest. We achieved ripe flavors and fruit maturity without the concentrated sugars and higher alcohols associated with late season heat events. These cooler, longer maturing vintages often give us more finesse in flavor and structure and more complexity in aromatics.
Quickly becoming the benchmark of the McMinnville AVA, the third vintage of our Estate Pinot Noir offers aromas of red plum, blood orange zest, white raspberry, cedar, fermented tobacco, wet stones and forest floor. The lush plum and dark, rich cherry in the early- to mid-palate is held in balance by a crisp and savory finish.
Suggested Retail Price
Josh Raynolds - May 3, 2022 Brilliant ruby. Tightly focused cherry, dark chocolate, licorice and floral scents are accompanied by suggestions of musky herbs and smoky minerals. Chewy and energetic on the palate, offering bitter cherry, cola and baking spice flavors that take a sweeter turn with air. Dusty tannins add closing grip to repeating cherry and floral notes that show fine delineation and lingering smokiness.
Paul Gregutt - April 15, 2022 This is a sophisticated representation of the AVA, showing its steely minerality first and foremost. The brambly berry fruit is a bit constricted, with flavors suggesting mountain-grown wild berries. There’s a stiff phenolic spine to the wine, but the overall mix of fruit, rock, savory herb, acidity and tannin suggests it’s a good candidate for aging.
Other Wines by this Producer
Winemaker Robert Brittan developed a love for Rhône varieties during his first visit to the Northern Rhône Valley in the early 1980’s. Captivated by the cool climate Syrahs from Cornas and Côte-Rôtie and intrigued by the cool, windy climate in McMinnville, Robert was encouraged to explore how Syrah would express itself on his rugged, exposed hillside.
The Gestalt Block, a two-acre parcel planted primarily to Pinot noir selection 115, occupies the southwest flank of our hillside. The vines here are planted in shallow topsoil underpinned by a young, dense layer of intrusion basalt, and yield less than one ton of fruit per acre. The small, thick-skinned berries (a product of the Van Duzer winds) produce wines with a dark fruit core and pronounced phenolic intensity that showcase the essence of the vintage.
The three-acre, east facing Cygnus Block was planted in 2008 to the low-yielding Swan Selection of Pinot noir (the only single-selection block on the property). Unlike the rest of the vineyard, rows here are planted in an east/west orientation giving the block a different exposure to the sun and reducing the influence of the Van Duzer winds, which are channeled through the rows instead of across them. This block’s unique aspect, orientation, and selection create fresh, balanced, seamless wines brimming with red fruits.
Robert Brittan developed a love for Chardonnay during his tenure as the first winemaker at Far Niente Winery in the early 1980’s, a passion that continued to grow during his 16 years at Stags’ Leap Winery. In 2004, Robert decided to leave California and start a vineyard project in the cool climate of the northern Willamette Valley, the home of the finest New World Chardonnay grown today.