Pinot Noir Reserve 2017
Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley
Beginning with the 2017 vintage, Ponzi’s Pinot Noir Reserve comes exclusively from estate fruit, including from some of Oregon’s oldest vines. As one of the major wine publications once wrote, “All Oregon Pinot Noirs are measured against the Ponzi yardstick”. That has been true for over 50 years, while the Ponzi family has farmed 140 acres of certified sustainable vineyards all planted on Laurelwood soils. During their tenure, the Ponzis have observed the unique characteristics as their vines penetrated the earth and evolved. Bright red fruit character in their youth gave way to dark berry and brambly spice as the vines reached into the volcanic layers. The character of this soil has defined the Ponzis’ wines and served as a guide for generations of winemakers in the Willamette Valley. The Pinot Noir Reserve’s brooding dark fruit and exotic spice has rendered it 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. The 2017 boasts a new label design with a textured effect that resembles the layers of Laurelwood soils.
Fruit for the Pinot Noir Reserve was sourced entirely from Ponzi Estate vineyards on Laurelwood soils. As a true Reserve, or barrel select, it is a blend of top barrels from Ponzi’s Aurora, Abetina, Madrona and Avellana Vineyards, all of which are LIVE Certified Sustainable. Each of the sites in this wine offers a different aspect, vine age, and root depth. Higher elevation sites and younger vineyards contribute bright red fruit and floral character while the lower elevation sites and older vineyards bring darker fruit and brambly spice character, all seamlessly knit together by fine, chalky tannin. This subregion of the Chehalem Mountains spreads across the northern slopes, largely protected from coastal rains, allowing the basalt soils to retain water in the spring and slowly, evenly drain throughout the growing season, bringing an inherent balance to the grape and a measured intensity to the wines.
Harvest: Sep-Oct 2017
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation: in small lots, with daily punch-downs, 40% whole cluster
Aging: 20 months, 30% new French oak, 10 months in bottle
The 2017 vintage was a welcome throwback to more classic vintages after five consecutive warm years. The winter was unusually cold and snowy. That extended into a cool spring, delaying bud break by a few weeks into April and bloom following suit in late June. The summer was dry and warm for the most part, although there were plenty of grey skies due to smoke from fires in the north and east. Fortunately, the Willamette Valley was spared any effect from the smoke and may have even benefited from some protection from sunburn in the hottest part of the summer. Fruit set was very large, so judicious fruit thinning was required to maintain quality and control volume. Harvest began in late September and long mild days ensued. Cool nights kept acids brilliant and bits of rain here and there ensured beautiful conditions for ripe, clean fruit with mature skin and seed tannin. Reminiscent of recent 2010 and 2011 vintages, 2017 will be one to enjoy immediately and for the long term.
“This perfumed nose holds spice notes of clove, anise and cinnamon underlaid by lilac, lavender and cherry wood aromatics. The mouth is focused and structured with long tannins laced with chocolate nibs, sweet bing cherries and rich notes of dried fig and black tea.” – Luisa Ponzi
With brooding dark fruit, floral and exotic spice character, Ponzi’s Reserve Pinot noir pairs well with rich and savory dishes, like seared pork belly with hoisin sauce, blackened salmon, or wild rice and roasted mushrooms.
Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley
LIVE Certified Sustainable
Suggested Retail Price
James Suckling - June 30, 2021
"Attractive ripe and pure red cherry fruit that is nicely framed in spice, conifer-forest and sweet-earth elements. The palate has a bold heart of concentrated red-cherry flavor and delivers a bold, youthful and succulent finish. Impressive." - J.S.
Wine Enthusiast - June 30, 2021
"A refined, almost delicate sensibility is at work here. This is the most Burgundian of the high-end Ponzi Pinots, young and fresh and racy and tight. The bright raspberry and cherry fruit is compact and set up with balanced acidity and proportionate, ripened tannins. Notes of herb and citrus are in the background, as is the impact of aging in 30% new French oak." - P.G.
Vinous - February 11, 2022
"Glistening ruby-red. Expansive red and dark berry preserve, mocha and cola scents reveal complementary candied rose and baking spice nuances. Palate-coating cherry cola and blackberry flavors are sweetened by a late touch of vanilla. Bitter chocolate and anise notes appear on a long, subtly chewy finish framed by well-integrated tannins. Made with 40% whole clusters and raised in 30% new French oak barrels."- J.R. 2/22
Other Wines by this Producer
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 District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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 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.
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.