Word-of-Mouth Hits: 2018 Small Batch Rockstar Pinots

The 2018 Pinots continue to mesmerize us and we are stoked to share these two undercover '18 rockstars with you! Like seeing Zeppelin at the corner bar before they made it big...except the minuscule quantities made of both–only 75 and 44 cases respectively–will guarantee they remain word-of-mouth hits.

Both wines are selections for our Oregon Reserve Pinot wine club, the highest endorsement we have. You don't want to kick yourself for not seeing these rockstars while you could so get to it!

$35.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($39.95 regular)

As we were tasting and deciding on club wines, we asked winemaker Michael Lundeen for his opinion on which of his 2018s we should consider. He was strident: "the 2018 Yamhill Spring is the best Pinot noir I've made."

After spending multiple days tasting it we are entirely confident that he's right. It is bolder, denser, and darker-fruited than typical Lundeen Pinots (thanks, 2018!); with each couple hours open it unfurls more beauty and succulence. By day two and beyond, it announces who’s boss. We can’t wait for you to taste it! Only 75 cases were bottled.

From Michael Lundeen: I handle Pinot noir grapes very gently and typically put them in the fermenter with some percentage of whole clusters remaining intact. I believe that great vineyards express their uniqueness not only in fruit but in the complex contents of the entire grape cluster. The resulting wines are pure and powerful expressions of Pinot noir that remain light on their feet, rich on the palate, and very elegant with modest alcohols and vibrant acidity.

Yamhill Springs Vineyard is an old vineyard for Oregon, originally planted in the 1980s and tucked away deep in the northwest corner of the Yamhill Carlton AVA. The own-rooted vines are naturally low-yielding but have rooted down deep into the Bellpine soils. This vineyard produces the darkest and most brooding Pinot noirs in the Lundeen portfolio. 

$35.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($39.95 regular)

Twill’s Stormy Morning Pinot has become a near automatic Reserve club selection. It’s one of the unsung heroes of Reserve wines–so much intrigue and complexity are jammed-packed into each release yet it has remained quite humbly priced since the inaugural release (2013). It is also one of the most re-ordered club wines. We’ve now tasted the 2018 thrice and concluded that it’s go-time!

Darker and denser than any previous Stormy, this shows the nature of 2018. Blood orange joins bright red fruits and rose petals in the initial scents. With time, allspice and raspberry come out to play. Blossoming into a deep and bright array of spiced red fruits and orange zest, this is the most concentrated and structured Stormy Morning yet. It will cellar magically, and drinks well now with a decant and a meal. Only 44 cases made.

While the ‘18 shares similarities with previous vintages, there’s one striking difference. Previous Stormy Morning Pinots have maxed out at 30% whole cluster; 2018 is a whopping 70% whole cluster. You’ll taste the extra dimensions from the increased use of the entire grape bunches. We asked winemaker Chris Dickson about the dramatic change. 

"The amped up whole cluster was the most exciting set of barrels that year from Stormy Morning. We just had to do it. It made a powerful wine, but not in a barrel and alcohol way. We didn’t repeat it in 2019 because the vintage didn’t call for it, and we may never use that much whole cluster again, but I love what it did in 2018.”

So do we.