2006 Johan Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Willamette Valley
The spot is beautiful; the eastern foothills of Oregon's Coastal Range. 175 acres of gently sloping hills, 65 acres of which are planted to what's quickly becoming some of the Willamette Valley's most coveted cool climate Pinot Noir.
We were standing with Dan Rinke, a winemaker who meekly describes himself as "just a farmer." Rinke is at the helm of Johan, one of the more exciting new Pinot Noir sources in Oregon. It was late afternoon and, even though it was summer, we could already feel the nip in the air. "That's the real secret of Johan," Rinke said. "It's those cool breezes from the Van Duzer Corridor. You better grab something to put on."
Why are top wineries in the Willamette Valley flocking to the meticulously farmed Pinot Noir at Johan? They're coming for that special aromatic lift, that bowl-full-of-cherries nose and crisp acidity that every Pinot needs and all too few have. And they're paying a king's ransom. All we had to do was put our nose in a glass of the tiny production 2006 Johan Pinot Noir. Then we quickly came to understand why word from the Oregon grapevine is that top wineries are dropping $9,000+ an acre (!) for Johan fruit. Despite the scorching heat of 2006 that left many Oregon Pinots overripe and flat, the Johan nose is of bright black cherry. The aromas are as fresh as the winds off the Van Duzer Corridor.
Dan Rinke, Winemaker
Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Bright ruby color to the edge. Black cherry aromas with excellent aromatic lift. Lush, plump cherry/red fruit flavors. Delicious sweet fruit with an unusually firm finish, given the extreme heat of 2006. Drink now-2012."