2009 M. Autumn Wines Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
 
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Johnson vineyard, Willamette valley Sonoma Coast Opulence in Willamette Valley

Ryan and Molly Hodgins had been living in Portland, Oregon for some time. Molly, a viticulturist, was the head vineyard manager for Harry Peterson-Nedry at Chehalem up on Ribbon Ridge. Ryan, after a three-year stint at Hanzell, was commuting to the northern California coast, consulting for Breggo Cellars. It wouldn't be long before Hodgins and Breggo hit the jackpot when Food and Wine Magazine named Breggo "California's Best New Winery." Robert Parker followed suit, raving about Hodgins' deft cellar hand.

As Breggo garnered big scores from both Parker and Tanzer, the cash began flowing and Hodgins accepted the post as head winemaker. But even as Ryan turned on the jets, crafting a series of brilliant high-toned coastal Pinot Noirs that would wow both Parker and Tanzer, a part of his Pinot Noir heart was still in the Willamette Valley.

He soon returned to Oregon wine country, and signed a contract for a few tons of Pinot Noir off Lemelson's organically-farmed Johnson Vineyard, just a stone's throw from Willamette Valley's most revered planting, the world-class Shea Vineyard. Just a year later, in the unusually warm 2009 vintage, Hodgins fashioned a brilliant, unusually opulent Oregon Pinot Noir that, in many ways, speaks more of Hodgins' Sonoma Coast expertise than most things Willamette Valley.

The 2009 growing season was one of the hottest on record in prized Yamhill-Carlton. In what would be one of the warmest-ever summers in Oregon, the thermometer topped 90 degrees on twenty-four days (average is just thirteen!). Strangely, the northern AVAs were the most impacted by a handful of heat spikes. Some were obliged to harvest in early September, as berries had blistered. In these cases, the 2009s would much resemble those of 2006, albeit with finer texture and flavors.

But with a combination of healthy leaf canopies that protected clusters at Johnson Vineyard, and the experience Ryan drew from the warm summers on Sonoma Coast, kept Hodgins from panicking. As neighbors picked furiously, concerned about falling acids, one of the most talented young Pinot Noir makers on the coast stood pat. That decision would give birth to one of the more striking Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noirs of this anomalous harvest.

Brilliant, dark ruby to rim with lush, beautifully focused aromas of crushed red fruits, laced with sweet herbs and underbrush. Rich and juicy on the attack, with fine Russian River-like density and sweetness, infused with raspberry and black cherry preserves -- despite all the warm vintage opulence, the finish remains firm and vibrant. Drink now-2016.



Tasting Notes

2009 M. Autumn Wines Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
"Brilliant, dark ruby to rim with lush, beautifully focused aromas of crushed red fruits, laced with sweet herbs, black tea and underbrush. Rich and juicy on the attack, with fine Russian River-like density and sweetness, infused with raspberry and black cherry preserves -- despite all the warm vintage opulence, the finish remains firm and vibrant. Drink now-2016."
– WineAccess Travel Log

 

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