The intriguing dark rosewood color of this wine is accentuated by tantalizing aromas. The dominant fruit scents favor black plums, currants and other darker fruits, with more complex aromas of graphite and smoked meats. On the palate, one finds savory flavors of mocha and Italian herbs, rounded out by fruity nuances of black raspberries and Van cherries. Built to last, this wine will gracefully age for 5-8 years, further complimenting the luscious and expansive mouth feel with aged pinot noir characteristics.
After a couple of record breaking cool vintages, 2012 turned out to be decidedly warmer and one of the driest on record. Spurred on by unusually warm late September days, picking began at the beginning of October at the Benton-Lane estate, allowing us to harvest as the vineyard blocks were ready and well before the early November rains. This resulted in generous wines with slightly elevated alcohol levels, moderate acidity and great complexity.
The must underwent a pre-fermentation “cold soak” to increase extraction of color and flavor. Fermentation took place in small 1.75-ton fermenters with the cap being punched down by hand. The individual lots were fermented with specially chosen yeast and after pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation naturally in French oak barrels, 42% of which were brand new. The barrels selected to be included in the First Class cuvee were pre-blended to ensure consistency and a proper “marriage” of flavors and then racked back into barrels to complete the aging process. To ensure optimal quality, the wine was bottled with Stelvin® Lux screw-top closures. - Winery
Aging: 15 months in French Oak barrels – 6 months bottle aging before release
Titratable Acidity: 5.7 grams per liter
Bright ruby-red. Sexy, smoke-tinged aromas of dark berries, cherry-cola and peppery spices. Smooth and open-knit, offering gently sweet black raspberry and floral pastille flavors, along with a hint of vanilla. Smooth and gently tannic on the finish, which lingers with excellent tenacity and repeating smokiness. This fruit was grown in the winery's estate vineyard in Monroe, which is in the southernmost sector of the Willamette Valley. -- Josh Raynolds - Vinous 91 Points