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For us in the Pacific Northwest, spring and summer 2011 sucked. But here's our consolation prize.
Dismal. Drizzly. Dreary. Depressing. Such were May, June, and July 2011 up here in the northwestern corner of the country. In Seattle, we wore sweaters on the 4th of July. Sunshine? Yeah, right. Local weather guru Cliff Mass proclaimed "2010 and 2011 have simply been the worst over the past 60 years."
In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, 2011 wasn't much better. The warm season started late and didn't get all that warm. These poor Pinot Noir vines shivered through a grey and cloudy spring and summer before finally getting some relief in late July and August.
But then - sweet miracle! - it stayed warm later than usual, too. Perhaps the latest harvest on record brought these grapes home in big, burly bunches. And Bell Cellars turned them into a spicy, toasty, delicately berry-tinged Pinot Noir that's as robust and dynamic as that summer was blah and lifeless. We never thought we'd want to relive that miserable 2011, but this Bell Willamette Valley Pinot Noir gives those memories an alluring ruby-red hue.
The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir has a bright cranberry color with aromas of spice and ripe red raspberries. On the palate, flavors of mineral and cherries give way to hints of toasty oak. This Oregon Pinot Noir has a core of bright acidity and fine tannins that enhances the delicate flavors of this wine. Lamb, duck or salmon pair well with this delightful wine.
The 2011 growing season in the North Willamette Valley was cool and very long. The harvest was one of the latest on record with growers and vintners nervously watching the sky. Perfect weather at flowering caused the vines to set a very large crop, but cool, cloudy weather in late spring and early summer slowed ripening. Heat accumulation over the season was one of the lowest in decades. Many growers thinned the crop significantly to encourage ripening of remaining bunches, but potential yields were still 50 to 100 percent larger than normal. The good news is that the long hang time in the vineyard produced wonderful flavors, and a late summer saved the day in what they are calling the “miracle vintage".
Winegrowing in Oregon's Willamette Valley has been well established since the 1860s. The Valley is a large and climatically diverse region extending more than 150 miles from Portland to Eugene, dwarfing valleys such as Napa. Since the valley is exposed directly to maritime airflow off the Pacific Ocean, site selection and management is absolutely critical to fruit quality. Winters are mild, but cool, wet summers make the work of achieving optimum ripeness and balance every winemaker’s challenge. The Pinot Noir comes from a vineyard in the southern part of the valley, specifically situated above the fog line of the Valley floor, but below the wind line where ripeness is often impaired. The gently sloping, southern facing vineyards, featuring brick-red volcanic soils that drain particularly well, produce a Pinot Noir displaying dark ruby coloring and a robust palate.
In Oregon, each vintage is an expression of that year and place. The Oregon Collection wines exhibit not only the classic characteristics of their varietals, but also unique nuances in their flavor profiles.
Founder/Winemaker Anthony Bell describes how he focuses on the elegance, delicacy and nuances of the Pinot Noir varietal.
Winery Retail Price: $108.00
Average Shipping: $18.00
Woot Shipping: (-$7.00)
Total MSRP: $119.00
Varietal Source: Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Total Acid: 0.65 gm/100ml
Aging: 8 months in French oak, 30% new
Bottle Date: December 2012
Production: 738 cases
Bell Wine Cellars
Anthony Bell, Ron Berberian, and Alex Spanos
Yountville, CA, Napa Valley
Situated off the beaten path, just south of Yountville, is an exquisite pale stone winery, shrouded by oak, bordered to the south by Hopper Slough, surrounded by vineyard and cloaked in quiet. After looking for twenty years, winemaker Anthony Bell found the perfect place to produce the wines he had long dreamed of - limited production, hand crafted wines that showcase the concept of "terroir". In 1998, Bell Wine Cellars opened its doors to the public to share the beauty of the place, and the wine.
In June 2002 - Ron Berberian, former California wine wholesaler, and Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers, formed Spanos Berberian Winery, LLC. The venture acquired interest in the brand name and assets of Bell Wine Cellars, and a new partnership was formed with Anthony.
Nestled between the stacks of aromatic barrels and towering stainless steel tanks, guests can taste the signature Bell Cabernet, at the intimate, elegant tasting room. We also serve Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah, encompassing a wide range of flavors, from vineyards both near and far afield.
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