Ponzi Vineyards

Pinot Noir Reserve 2016

Willamette Valley


The Pinot Noir Reserve comes from primarily estate fruit, including from some of Oregon’s oldest vines.  In some years the Ponzis will choose to add complementary parcels from longtime grower partners. The constant is that the heart of the wines is from old vines grown on Laurelwood soils in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Ponzi’s Pinot Noir Reserve is  one of the ultimate examples of artisanal, site-expressive Pinot Noir in the United States today, year after year epitomizing a character of restrained power.


Fruit for the 2016 Reserve was sourced entirely from Laurelwood soils in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Selected barrels from Ponzi’s Aurora, Abetina and Avellana Vineyards comprise the majority of the blend with a few barrels from Linda Vista Vineyard.


All of the fruit was hand sorted and destemmed. Fermented in small lots with 5 days of cold soak to increase aroma and color, the peak temperatures reached 90 degrees. The fermenters were aerated or manually punched down twice a day (for 12-20 days) before undergoing a 7 day post-fermentation maceration to increase structure and length. This wine was aged in French oak barrels (30% new), for 20 months. It was racked and bottled by gravity without filtration or fining and was aged in bottle for 5 months before its release.


For the last three years we have been defining the new normal with early vintages in the Willamette Valley. 2016 jumped out of the gate with bud break a full 3 weeks earlier than what we are accustomed to. Flowering was condensed by a heat spell and an early summer gave us beautiful warm temperatures until August when it heated up. Harvest arrived later that month and was in full swing by early September. All fruit was in the door by the first part of October. Fruit quality was immaculate with absolutely no disease pressure. Fruit set was small due to the short flowering time. Berry size was also small resulting in lower yields and gorgeously intense fruit. I would liken 2016 to the 2006 vintage where we saw lush, beautiful wines with unexpected elegance and acidity, but in achingly short supply. Truly, a stellar vintage for Oregon.

Tasting Notes

Initial aromatics of salted caramel and dark chocolate lead to deep and diverse notes of paprika, fig, graphite, oyster shell, cedar, clove and nutmeg laced with beautiful floral wafts of violet and dried rose petal. The palate is seamless with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, ancho and candied citrus. The finish is long with chalky tannins.



Grape Varieties

Pinot Noir


Willamette Valley



Suggested Retail Price



"Sweet and seamless"

Vinous - August 4, 2020

"Limpid ruby-red. Pungent cherry cola, black raspberry and candied rose aromas are complemented by building mocha and spice notes. Sweet and seamless in texture, offering juicy red and dark berry preserve and spice-cake flavors that deepen steadily through the mid-palate. Rounded tannins add gentle grip to the very long, spicy finish, which leaves boysenberry and cherry notes behind. 30% new oak."


"Uber silky and granular"

Wine Advocate - October 26, 2020

"Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2016 Pinot Noir Reserve has slowly blossoming scents of cured meats, pink peppercorn, warm earth and dried herbs and flowers with red currant, cranberry and blackberry fruit and a streak of sweet spices. The medium-bodied palate is uber silky and granular with juicy freshness and a long finish. This is approachable now but will benefit from another couple of years in bottle. This was aged 20 months in 30% new French oak." 


"Concentrated, powerful style"

Jeb Dunnuck - March 27, 2020 "The smaller production 2016 Pinot Noir offers a concentrated, powerful style as well as ample black cherry and mulled plum fruits intermixed with plenty of scorched earth, graphite, Asian spices, and background oak. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated."

"Savory, long and elegant"

James Suckling - February 5, 2020 "This has bright, punchy aromas of cassis and ripe dark cherries with anise and forest-wood notes. The palate offers a very vibrant core of fine tannins that is set in stony, fine style and delivers a savory, long and elegant finish."

"Polished and structured"

Wine Spectator - January 16, 2020 "Polished and structured, featuring vibrant raspberry and cherry flavors, accented by orange peel and savory spice notes that build richness toward refined tannins."

"Smooth and silky"

Wine Enthusiast - October 25, 2019 "Smooth and silky, this lovely reserve is loaded with ripe plum and cherry fruit. Barrel aging (20 months in 30% new French oak) brings cellar, nutmeg and chocolate notes. There's a pinch of pepper also, as it winds gracefully through a long finisher."

More on Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve 2016

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June 16, 2020 - Anna Maria Ponzi, second generation vintner for Ponzi Vineyards, chatted with blogger Wine with Wanda about Ponzi's 50th anniversary in her latest Instagram Live Session. The two cover a lot:…

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

Laurelwood Pinot Noir

Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

For over 50 years, the Ponzi family has farmed 140 acres of certified sustainable vineyards all planted on Laurelwood soil. Situated along the Northern ridge of the Willamette Valley, these ancient soils are comprised of fractured basalt layered over with a fine, windblown sediment called loess. A decade-long effort by sisters Maria and Luisa, alongside their neighbors has resulted in the recognition of Oregon’s first soil-based AVA, the Laurelwood District. The 2019 vintage boasts the new label design, with a textured effect that resembles the layers of the Laurelwood soils.

Laurelwood Chardonnay

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The Ponzi family has dedicated over 30 years to innovation in farming and winemaking to develop Oregon Chardonnay’s place in the world. Luisa Ponzi’s formative experiences working in Burgundy in the early 1990s guide her vision of producing complex and ageworthy Chardonnay.

Tavola Pinot Noir

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Tavola is Ponzi’s delicious early release Pinot Noir, a fruit-forward wine with soft tannins, made primarily from younger, lower elevations vines. Meant for early consumption, it is an unbeatable value for quality Pinot Noir.

Pinot Gris

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One of the original and most recognized Oregon and U.S. Pinot Gris producers, Ponzi was a major influence in establishing Pinot Gris as the first quality white grape variety in Oregon. Ponzi’s Pinot Gris is an irresistably aromatic and expressive wine, and serves as a first encounter for many wine drinkers with Oregon wines and the Ponzi estate.