The Rare 96: Vinous' Highest Scoring WV Pinots

We're having a blast with all the recently-published Vinous reviews for Willamette Valley Pinots. There are many more to come though none which share the rare 96the highest rating in the entire Vinous report and one saved for only nine wines. Here are two special picks: Lingua Franca Mimi's Mind 2017 and Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Star-of-Bethlehem Flower Block 2018. Both are very to super-limited. Pinot collectors, have at it!

$80.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($89.95 regular)

96 points Vinous: "Assertive red berry liqueur, cherry cola, potpourri and incense aromas show outstanding clarity and mineral lift. Offers concentrated yet impressively energetic black raspberry, bitter cherry, spicecake and floral pastille flavors. A subtle blood orange flourish adds refreshing back-end cut. Gains weight and sweetness with air and finishes spicy, subtly tannic and extremely long, with resonating florality and a touch of smokiness. 50% whole clusters and 20% new oak."

Us: It comes down to one word: brilliant. As much as the wine, the vineyard and the mind behind it. The rigorously intellectual, deeply mystical fostering of ecological diversity and complexities in Mimi Casteel's Hope Well vineyard is translated into contemplative and celebratory wine. For the third year in a row, it's the finest expression of Pinot noir in the Lingua Franca cellar. Mimi's Mind is a combination of a wall-sized color palette, a bookshelf of encyclopedias, a grand piano with an extra octave on each register. It is elegant, energetic, deeply structured–a treat to savor over days or even better, to tuck away for a future special moment.

$74.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($82.95 regular)

96 points Vinous: "Highly perfumed and finely detailed on the nose, the Star of Bethlehem Flower Block displays spice- and mineral-accented red fruit and floral scents, along with a touch of musky underbrush. Pure, focused and lithe on the palate, this Pinot Noir offers vibrant strawberry, redcurrant, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors. As the wine opens up five-spice powder and blood orange nuances come forward. Strikingly graceful and lively, it shows no excess fat and finishes extremely long and silky, with resonating floral, mineral character and just a trace of fine-grained, polished tannins. If I was told that this wine came from a hot vintage I'd think that somebody was pulling my leg."

The excellent writer John Gilman compared this to one of the most famous plots in Burgundy: "Though the soil signatures are completely different, this is always the Kelley Fox bottling that strikes me as the most spiritually aligned with les Amoureuses in Chambolle-Musigny. It is a stunning young wine in 2018." That gets its own wowSuper-limited.