2003 McKinlay Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Special Selection

03222008.jpgOld World… New World – if it’s good I love it. It’s my birthday week and I had the Vincent Girardin Volnay the other night – this wine represents the flip side. They are so different, but have so much in common. Pinot Noir is called the “heart-break grape”, but when it’s done well, it reminds wine-makers why they chase the Pinot dragon.

While 2005 was an overall great vintage in Burgundy, 2003 was a bit more of a challenge in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Some folks made overripe wines from the warm weather of that summer. Not so much with George Angus McKinlay. He seems to have pretty much hit a triple, if not a home run with this wine.

It’s a beautifully balanced 14.3% bottle of Willamette goodness from one of the area’s smallest, yet most beloved wineries (there were only 330 cases made). The colour is a beautiful medium-dark Pinot red… with the nose giving off a bunch of blackberry and cherry syrup with a hint of Coca-Cola and flowers…It sounds like a high-school date, but is so much more fulfilling (OK, maybe compared to my high-school dates). A sip gives up berry and cherry juice, licorice and a bunch of earthy fine tannins on the long juicy finish.

This wine reminds me that I should head down to Portland and the Willamette Valley area sometime this summer. I love this style of Pinot.

$60 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

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