In addition to being an immediate and obvious Reserve Pinot club selection, Martin Woods’ Bednarik ‘18 had the prestige of being one of only twelve Pinot noirs chosen for our 2020 Collector’s Case.
This is the electricity of Pinot noir! A mesmerizing deep red flavor–think wild strawberry–and a sensational purity and silkiness. The current of energy flowing between those elements and a deep savor, a subtle power, a groundswell of excitement–THAT’S what we mean by the electricity of Pinot.
93 points Vinous: Highly perfumed, mineral- and spice-tinged aromas of ripe red berries, cherry and incense pick up a sexy floral nuance with air. Seamless and focused on the palate, offering sweet raspberry, cherry, spicecake and rose pastille flavors that stretch out slowly on the back half. Finishes silky, spicy and very long, displaying sharp clarity and harmonious tannins that lend subtle grip. 35% whole clusters and 8% new oak.
Bednarik vineyard is situated in the far northern Willamette Valley, tucked into Oregon's Coast Range near the little village of Cherry Grove. Nights are cool here and the mature (1988) self-rooted vines (Pommard clone) are patient to ripen. The shallow, well-drained marine sedimentary soil provides the vines a balanced stress, resulting in naturally restrained yields, limited canopy growth and lots of air-flow and sun exposure. That results in sun-kissed grape skins and stems and well-developed phenology, and allows for the use of more whole clusters in the fermentation, leading to Pinot noir with delightfully lifted aromatics and a distinctive texture in its youth, which becomes increasing silky and sweet over time as the tannin structure melts. 2018 was only Martin Woods’ second vintage at Bednarik, but they’ve quickly recognized how lucky they are to claim two of the six total acres at this very special site.
You need to get to know Martin Woods. You’ll recognize household Willamette Valley names on the resumes of the duo behind the upstart winery. We first met Evan Martin during his tenure as assistant winemaker for Belle Pente, a mainstay of our offerings through the years. Evan’s winemaking prowess joins the Biodynamic ninja mastery of Sarah Martin, viticulturalist for Bergstrom, which needs no introduction but just in case, is one of Oregon’s, if not the country's, best-known wineries.
Evan and Sarah launched Martin Woods with the 2015 vintage – we sold some of their first wines (Gamays) and have been excited ever since to feature one of their Pinot noirs. And we’ve found it! You should expect to hear/see a lot more from Martin Woods in the coming months and years.
Bednarik Vineyard’s resurrection was first made known to us through Hundred Suns, who made a knockout 2016 Pinot noir from the old vines located in the far northwest corner of Willamette Valley. Sure, we knew of the vineyard and had tasted single vineyard wines from it several years back, but when one winemaker you know and trust begins effusively hyping a vineyard, you nod and think, “okay...we’ll wait for the proof.” When a second one does the same, you think, “maybe they’re onto something.” And the third, well, you’re just being daft if you’re not keenly paying attention by now!l
Whether on day one – at first pour – or day four, we found a thoroughly captivating, even haunting Pinot noir. There’s an ineffable coolness to the entire wine and especially, to the aromatics. The contribution of whole clusters was at play but what else...old vines, winemaking style, magic? In short, it is absolutely our kind of Pinot noir and we think you’ll love it, too.
Note Evan and Sarah's unique perspective on Oregon terroir as it relates to their choice of aging vessels for all of their wines. They’re fully committed to the extent that Evan is making Oregon oak barrels with a local cooper and they’ve created space at the winery to properly air-dry them.