2005 REAL B-Side Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

REAL B-Side Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Oregon's tiny REAL winery sources all of their fruit from the well-regarded Chehalem estate. Rather than invest heavily in vineyard development, REAL is about the here and now. They make wines from the best available fruit--but, like this one, craft wines meant for early consumption.

Pinot NoirREAL's B-Side Pinot is a blend of fruit from Chehelam's Stoller, Ridgecrest, and Corral Creek Vineyards. The three vineyards are situated in a triangle about 7 miles apart. It might not sound like very far, but in Oregon's northern Willamette Valley, microclimates can be different mile by mile. The finished wine yields an interesting balance of Stoller's youthful red fruits, Corral Creek's spicy pepperiness, and Ridgecrest's later-harvested acidity. This is pretty heady Pinot, the kind that Chehalem owner Harry Peterson-Nedry doesn't part with easily. Thus, REAL releases just a couple hundred cases of wine each year--if that much.

After a scorcher in 2003 and a tricky 2004, Oregon's 2005 growing season was a return to excellence, especially in the Willamette Valley, where steady, moderate temperatures led to a late harvest. The 2005 harvest rewarded patience. Harry's is legendary, a model for less experienced growers, and he brought most of his Pinot in nearly a month later than in 2004. As he described it, "the colors look great, and alcohols should finally return to sane, cool-climate levels, and grace should replace Sumo-sized wines from warmer years."

2005 REAL Pinot is what lovers of Oregon Pinot Noir have come to expect--ripe, generous red fruit flavors, a nice sweet middle palate, and plenty of persistent length. However, this is not a "masculine" style Pinot that is marring the landscape of Oregon wines lately. Barrel usage was kept to a minimum and we did just enough in the winery to not screw up the immaculate fruit we were given. Think "feminine" (but not necessarily simple). There's plenty of fruit complexity. This is a wine for consuming now however, while its fresh, refreshing, and vibrant.

Note: REAL didn't want to risk ruining a single bottle with a tainted cork, so they bottled this Pinot with a new closure called Vino-Lok. It's all glass, re-sealable, and fully recyclable.

Suggested Food Pairings:
Think Oregon. Fresh Pacific Northwest Salmon with some spring vegetables (peas, favas). Finish off with a local cheese like a soft Juniper Grove goat cheese.