Ponzi Vineyards

Laurelwood Pinot Noir 2017

Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley


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. Taking on the mantle of pioneer spirit and innovation from their parents, sisters Maria and Luisa launched a decade-long pursuit, alongside neighboring growers, which has resulted in the recognition of Oregon’s first soil-based AVA, the Laurelwood District. Situated along the Northern ridge of the Willamette Valley, a long contiguous stretch of ancient fractured basalts are layered over with a fine, windblown sediment called loess. During their tenure on this unique land, the Ponzis have observed the unique characteristics as their vines penetrated the earth and evolved. Bright red fruit character in their youth gives way to dark berry and brambly spice as the vines reach 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. 


A true expression of America’s newest AVA, the Laurelwood Pinot Noir is a blend of Ponzi’s Aurora, Avellana and Madrona Vineyards along with Gemini, Alloro, Paloma and Sufi Vineyards, all of which are situated in the Laurelwood District AVA and 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
Aging: 14 months, 20% 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.

Tasting Notes

“Bursting with aromatics of jasmine tea, sassafras, sweet cherry and dusty rose and lavender, this wine persists with notes of clove, Amarena cherries, pomegranate and biscotti in the layered and silky palate, finishing seamless and long.” – Luisa Ponzi

Food Pairing

With bright red fruit, silky texture, and fine tannins, Ponzi’s Laurelwood Pinot Noir is a perfect pairing with seared duck breast and cranberry coulis, creamy risotto with porcini mushrooms, or a beet and lentil salad with tarragon vinaigrette.



Grape Varieties

Pinot Noir


Laurelwood District, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley


LIVE Certified Sustainable



Suggested Retail Price



"Delicately expressive"

Wine Spectator - October 26, 2021

"Polished, refined and delicately expressive, with lovely rose petal, cherry and spiced tea flavors that build richness on the long finish." - TF


"Spice-tinged raspberry and cherry"

Vinous - February 11, 2022

"Deep, vivid red. Expressive, spice-tinged raspberry and cherry scents pick up floral and succulent herb flourishes with air. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering appealingly sweet red fruit and candied rose flavors and a spicy touch of white pepper. Subtle tannins frame a long, smooth finish that echoes the floral and spice notes. 20% new French oak."-  J.R 2/22


"Tasty, toasty, spicy"

Wine Enthusiast - July 6, 2021

"A late release from Ponzi (now owned by Champagne Bollinger), this tasty, toasty, spicy wine is ready for immediate drinking. A mix of estate and purchased fruit, all designed to showcase the newly approved Laurelwood District AVA, is in the bottle. It was aged 14 months in 20% new oak, and another 10 months post-bottling. Jasmine tea, root beer, cherry pastry and lemon meringue flavors are all in view. This delicious wine should be enjoyed over the next three or four years." - P.G. 

"Vibrant and supple"

James Suckling - August 2, 2021

"A perfumed nose of raspberry, crushed strawberry, vanilla and dried herb. It’s medium-bodied with fine tannins and bright acidity. Round and creamy with a silky texture. Sweet ripe fruit and spices. Vibrant and supple, followed by a long finish. " - J.S. 

More on Ponzi Vineyards Laurelwood Pinot Noir 2017

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

Pinot Noir Reserve

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Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve is the epitome of restrained power. It hails from estate grown fruit on Laurelwood soils in the Chehalem Mountains, including from some of Oregon’s oldest vines. This remarkably complex wine is handcrafted with tremendous attention to detail.

Laurelwood Chardonnay

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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.

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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.