It Can't Be This Good?! It Is: Violin WV Pinot

Once a year, if I'm lucky, a sub $25 Willamette Valley Pinot shocks me, stops me in my tracks. It happened Sunday night, then again last night and now, this morning. It was all the same wine--Violin Willamette Valley 2018--I just had to put the cork back in and revisit it because I kept challenging myself, thinking "it can't be this good?!"

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And it's Violin Willamette Valley Pinot noir 2018. Even now, on day three, I'm shaking my head in disbelief. And let me tell you the restraint it took not to crush the bottle Sunday night!

Whether you're a casual fan of Willamette Valley Pinot or a season ticket holder, do yourself a favor and buy a case of this wine. It is way more than everything you could want from <$25 Pinot.

$22.45 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($24.95 regular)

As I texted winemaker Will Hamilton a few minutes after opening it, ________ RIGHTEOUS (you can figure it out). It was insanely attractive when I first put my nose in the glass; I think I scared my partner when I yelled to her, "you have got to smell this!" And the taste: if they made Pinot noir candy, this is what I'd want it to taste like. Not sweet, just a little morsel I want to be able to savor morning, noon, and night.

It is Quintessential Willamette Valley Pinot, it offers spectacular value--if you don't partake, you're missing out. - Marcus 

Five vineyards bring the 2018 version to life, marking the first time this blend is 90% Eola-Amity Hills. Sylvia’s (38%) and Sojeau (formerly Sojourner, 30%) build the platform with smaller portions of Prophet (13%) and Justice (9%). First Man, the outlier to the North in the foothills near Gaston, completes the blend for the sixth year running (10%).

Bursting aromatics of fresh orchard fruits, berries and flowers bring tremendous intensity, matched on the palate with juicy and vibrant tannins lending a crunchiness to the wine. Medium weight but well framed, the overall balance creates lovely tension before a marked savoriness extends the finish. Higher use of whole cluster in 2018 (approximately 20% on average) lifts the aromatic expression in this wine to new levels, with the firm tannins helping maintain a serious and “food positive” tone. Aged on lees in a combination of new (13%) and used French Oak barrels. Assembled in early December and bottled January 24th, 2020.13.4% Alcohol. - Will Hamilton

$22.45 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($24.95 regular)

And obviously this is going to take a back seat to the WV Pinot, but if you're equally enthused about Willamette Valley Chardonnay then you should pursue this with equal vigor. See below, "spine before flesh," to give you an idea of the beautiful streak of acidity holding it upright. Zingy, salty, savory and most of all, pure and clean. - Marcus

Subtle aromatics with complexing edge of green, pineapple, mango, and more “cool” fruit tones. Saline and lime peel on entry, with salty characters adding a touch of savory to the extremely taught acid backbone. Far from a fat version of Chardonnay, the intensity of acid will give longevity and verve to this bottling as time goes by, allowing it to gain weight and fruit intensity gracefully. “Spine before flesh” as a producer I admire has eloquently stated of his own bottlings, and a quote I think applies well here. Zero new wood. - Will Hamilton