Winery: Ken Wright Cellars
Bottling: 2007 Abbott Claim Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sub-Region: Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley
Estimated Retail Price: $49 – $55
Purchase Details: Purchased of of the wine menu at Duc’s Bistro in Downtown Honolulu for $70; what a deal off of a restaurant menu! Seen at several other restaurants for a little over $100.
Tasting Notes: I’ve had the privilege of tasting Ken Wright’s pinot noirs for the past couple of vintages, mainly this, the Abbott Claim bottling since we always carried it in our store. Frankly I wasn’t that impressed by them, but his wines are pretty highly allocated, so I took whatever the distributor was willing to sell to me. Wright makes several other single vineyard bottlings so maybe this particular vineyard just never did it for me.
This 2007 vintage that we drank was a different story than both the 2005 and 2006 vintages. This one was fantastic. It was my birthday so a special bottle was definitely in order for the evening. As I mentioned above, this bottle was a steal considering what you would normally pay on a restaurant wine list. I had a hard time even considering any other wines on the menu, because my eyes kept coming back to Ken Wright. Although there wasn’t much success in the past, I thought we’d give it one last shot.
The color of the wine was definitely on the darker side of the pinot color spectrum. It actually had an interesting orange/brown tinge to it too. The nose was full of earth and dark fruits. In the mouth, the wine’s super clean tannins and lithe texture were immediately noticeable. On the palate, flavors of plum, black cherries and other dark fruits. Earth and dried tea flavors were there as well. This was a silky, supple and smooth effort.
Food Pairing and Context in Which to Enjoy: We had this with Vietnamese food from a semi-fine-dining restaurant. On the table was a duck breast, green papaya salad, super smokey roasted eggplant adn peppercorn prawns. The nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce of fish sauce, chili and garlic) used for the duck would lead you to believe that it would clash with the wine, but it didn’t at all. The sauce had a lightness about it that allowed it to not overpower the dish or the wine. Based on the dishes we had on the table, I’s venture out to say that the rest of the menu items are probably just as elegant, refined and subtle as what were having.
Winery & Other Background Information: Ken Wright is often credited with the single-vineyard pinot noir movment in Oregon. He’s a big devotee of showcasing a specific vineyard site’s unique qualites through pinot noir, which he believes is the grape that’s best suited to do this. The winery makes several other single vineyard pinot noirs, 10 at last count, a pinot blanc and a chardonnay as well. Case production is pretty small across all bottlings (300 – 1,600 depending on which vineyard) and demand is high, so tracking his wines down may prove difficult.