The Original: Eyrie Day!

Since our founding, we've featured more Oregon Pinots from more wineries than we can possibly count. Only one is the original.

Some wines speak to the past, some are here and now, others offer glimpses at how the Willamette Valley might evolve. Only one winery encompasses it all– storied past, delicious present, thrilling future: Eyrie.
Today is Eyrie Day! On February 22, 1965, the first modern plantings of wine grapes in the Willamette Valley were planted by Eyrie. When we say "Original Vines," we mean it. Today is a hell of a day to launch the mind-melting 2017 Original Vines Pinot noir!

And how do we outdo that? With the first American Pinot noir to compete successfully against the great red Burgundies, the bottled proof that the Willamette Valley could grow world-renowned Pinot noir: Eyrie's South Block Reserve 2015. This wine looks at all other Willamette Valley Pinots and says, "you're welcome."

Lest we not get too historical, both wines have "modern" approval–scores at the top of the range for Pinot noir. We wholeheartedly encourage our Pinot fans to collect and to drink these truly gorgeous wines.

$67.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($79.95 regular)

Us: Original vines, as in the first Pinot noir vines planted in the Willamette Valley. The historical importance of Original Vines cannot be overstated. But it's so much more than history, it's delicious present. A wine of tremendous character and ineffable finesse, no other Oregon wine smells like Eyrie's Original Vines. I can put certain aspects in writing–the exquisite perfume of gently crushed red berries, fir forest, delicate rose, orange essence, sexy musk–but you have to taste and feel it for yourself. The elusive Pinot noir sweetness is mind-melting.

A truly collectible bottle of Pinot noir, absolutely, but it is so wonderfully captivating now; I poured myself another glass and it's not even lunch.

96 points James Suckling, Top 100 US Wines 2020: "Very pure, fragrant red-berry and cherry aromas here with a fresh, sweetly fragrant and spicy edge, as well as forest wood. The palate has such volume and completeness with a very succulent, red-cherry core that has effortless depth and pure-fruit flavor. Very fresh finish. Drink or hold."

95 points Vinous: "A highly complex bouquet evokes fresh red berries and cherry, along with suave Asian spice, potpourri and mineral accents. Shows superb delineation on the palate, offering vibrant, spice-tinged red fruit liqueur, rhubarb and spicecake flavors that pick up a strong floral pastille nuance as the wine opens up. Finishes extremely long and lively, with fine-grained tannins providing shape and discreet grip to lingering raspberry, mineral and floral notes."

$161.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($179.95 regular)

Us: I am never at a loss for words, but...I'm still searching. I won't allow this to be cliched by some string of words. It's like spending time in your most favorite, most majestic places–are you taking pictures or are you just taking it all in? Given how thoroughly sensational all the Eyrie 2015s were, we had an idea of how great this would be but, wow.

It's nearly impossible to capture the historical significance of Eyrie's South Block. One ten-row section of Eyrie's original plantings, with unique soils, exposure and microclimate, was recognized early by founder David Lett and bottled separately as South Block. In 1979, Eyrie's 1975 South Block was entered into an international wine tasting in Paris; it finished third, above storied Burgundian Grand Crus. Stunned and displeased with the results, the French staged a similar competition the following year. Eyrie's '75 South Block finished second, again besting epic Grand Crus. The world took notice.

Interestingly, David stopped selling South Block shortly thereafter, yet continued to bottle it through 2007, the year before he passed away. 2007 was thought to be the final vintage for South Block but David's son, Jason, revived the South Block bottling in 2013 because he believes there are only a handful of years before it succumbs to phylloxera. This tribute to his father, "Papa Pinot," bears David's signature.

97 points James Suckling, Top 100 US Wines 2020: "The top Eyrie pinot cuvée, a partial selection of ten rows. Very rich aromas of fresh and dried red cherries, as well as notes of hauntingly spicy forest wood and fresh brown mushrooms. The palate has such composed and regal style with very suavely delivered flavors of ripe red to dark cherries that hold and expand out of the long, fine and elegantly focused finish. Impeccably balanced. Drink or hold."