2008 Stoller Vineyards Pinot Noir SV Estate Dundee Hills
Expert Rating
ST 92 points
(Read the full review below)
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Stoller Vineyards The Wine Spectator's "Perfect Vintage" Pinot Noir

When the Wine Spectator announced the highest-rated Pinot Noir vintage in American history, even the plunging Dow couldn't keep wine enthusiasts' spirits from soaring. In just a few weeks, nearly every highly rated, single-vineyard 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir would be allocated. It was the fastest sellout in Willamette Valley history.

The cases that were held back were small quantities of the top single-vineyard wines, squirreled into the catacombs of cold cellars, earmarked for library releases years down the road. Why? While the astounding Oregon Pinot Noirs of 2008 were indescribably rich and New World fleshy, it was the solid Burgundian backbone that most intrigued critics, arguing for a decade or more of cellar slumber.

Four years after bottling, nearly all those library collections have evaporated. Of those that are resting in cool, dark cellars, Bill Stoller's brilliant estate-grown Pinot Noir "SV" may be the most extraordinary of all.

The 2008 growing season in the Dundee Hills was one for the record books. Growers with whom we spoke that spring seemed ready to push the panic button. "Typically, we can pretty well predict the quality and maturity of a Pinot Noir harvest in July," we were told. "Had we done so in 2008, we would have guessed that we'd be largely making pink wine!"

But as is so often the case on Burgundy's Côte de Nuits, unforgettable Pinot Noir vintages are far more about the weeks before harvest than the mid-summer roller coaster. "On the first of September," Stoller said, "we hoped to make an easy-drinking Pinot Noir. By the end of October, we knew we had something magical on our hands."

Hardly a drop of water fell on the Dundee Hills in September. The vines were catching up. But early October forecasts of more gloomy weather, steady rain and cool temperatures dampened spirits. Typically, meteorologists are pretty reliable in this part of the world. But in the fall of 2008, weather.com got it all wrong. The rain never came. Every day up until the October 22nd harvest featured blue skies, cool sunny days, and cleansing breezes.

Just as the Wine Spectator reported, the tiny crop off Stoller Vineyard was the finest in the history of this world-class vineyard. The 2008 Stoller Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir "SV" is brilliant, deep ruby to the rim. Gorgeous aromas of violets, black cherry and black plums, infused with kirsch, and exotic spices. The attack is rich and deeply layered, slowly peeling away a lush gumbo of black cherry, plum and licorice, all bracketed by classical Burgundian backbone. Drink now, if you're impatient, or lay this one down for 5-7 years. It could use the rest!

Stephen Tanzer, the toughest and most distinguished Pinot Noir expert on the planet, went wild, describing "fleshy dark fruit flavors enlivened by juicy acidity," before lobbing on 92 points, one of the International Wine Cellar's top ratings of the vintage.

Tasting Notes

2008 Stoller Vineyards Pinot Noir SV Estate Dundee Hills
"Vivid ruby. Deep, pungent aromas of black raspberry, cherry-cola, anise and underbrush. Fleshy dark fruit flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity, with exotic floral and spice nuances gaining strength with aeration. Expands on the very long, sappy finish, which leaves notes of candied dark berries and violet pastille behind. I'd give this at least another five years of bottle age."
92 points -- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar


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