Oregon Winemaking Super-Star Duo’s Pinot Gem
If you’ve never been to Oregon’s uber-quaint McMinnville, and surrounding vineyards, you’re missing out on some of the best Point Noir tasting opportunities in America. Case in point is Hyland Estates. In 2015, in the hands of two of Oregon’s premier winemakers, Hyland’s self-rooted vines from 1971 yielded a truly dynamic Pinot Noir, all thanks to Laurent Montalieu, of Robert Parker favorite Soléna Estate, and Anne Sery, who started working in her parents’ Côte de Nuits vineyard at the age of 14. This 2015 Hyland Estates Pinot Noir is one of our top under-the-radar finds of the year. James Suckling recently pinned 92 points on this silky, gem, redolent of bright red-berry fruit, sweet spice, coffee beans and deep earth notes dazzles at its $40 release price. But it is truly mind-boggling at $23.99 per bottle. If you can’t get to McMinnville, let this Pinot take you there.
Last year, I spent a week visiting wineries in the Willamette, McMinnville and Eola-Amity Hills AVAs, on the outskirts of the town of McMinnville. Just north of the town, perched on rolling green hills at the foot of Oregon’s Coastal range, Hyland’s estate vineyard is gorgeous and well worth the visit, but the unique site is much more than picturesque. Summer days at Hyland are cooler than the rest of the valley. More importantly, the wind picks up each evening, ushering in a cool maritime breeze off the Pacific and taking the sting out of the often-blistering summer sun. Over the last 40 years, this distinct microclimate has given birth to what many believe to be the richest, most elegant, and most finely delineated Pinot Noirs in Oregon.
So, if you’re planning a visit, make sure you get up early and head to a cafe called Community Place just off NE 3rd street, smack in the heart of McMinnville, and surrounded by tasting rooms. Order the breakfast burrito, which is packed with smoked pork, eggs, onions, potatoes, salsa verde, crème fraîche and cheddar. Then, hit the tasting rooms and save one of the best — Hyland Estates — for last. If you’re not going to Oregon anytime soon — hit “Buy” and enjoy one of Willamette’s greatest bargains of the year, right at home.
Thank us later,
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
Cristaldi has worked in the wine industry for nearly a decade as a professional writer, critic, and educator. His published work has appeared in national print and online outlets including Food & Wine, Los Angeles Magazine, SOMM Journal, and many others.