We had heard nothing but good about Anne Amie Vineyard, there was no doubt we were headed there as soon as practical, like right from Stoller Vineyard and Winery. Climbing the hill to the tasting room, passing the vineyards, was beautiful, I wished for a nicer day to spend some of it outside. Alas, we were between the Coast Range Mountains and the Cascade Mountains, not likely in late June.
The tasting room is called Chateau Benoit after the previous winery at that site sold in 1999 to the owner of Anne Amie. A large, open French farmhouse feel with simple curtains beside the west-facing, vineyard-side, windows. A brick hearth and long tables with bench seating through the center of the space. Cheerful gold accent walls, stylized portrait and landscape paintings, gilt mirrors, but mostly wood with white provide the backdrop for tasting these wines. The original vineyards were planted in 1979, used in the production of the Chateau Benoit wines and have now been expanded to accommodate the production of Anne Amie wines. Another vineyard, Twelve Oaks Estate is on Chehalem Mountain, relatively steep terrain. All are LIVE and Salmon Safe certified vineyards.
We were treated to three Pinot Noirs: a Double Gold (Oregon Wine Awards) ‘Best of the Best’ award winning 2011 Winemakers select with cherries, strawberries and tobacco, 2010 Cube Project PN with spicy nose/palate and a tart finish, and the 2009 Reserve Series L’iris PN with spicy dark fruit scents and plum and pomegranate palate. The Cube Project is a collaborative effort between wine makers for Anne Amie and two California wineries (Bouchaine and Santa Rita Hills) to explore terroir vs winemaking efforts. This is a three-year project with each vineyard supplying six tons of grapes picked at the discretion of the winemaker in the region, each winery receives two tons to make wine, when the finished products are compared there should be similarities as well as distinct differences. There were so many differences in the mouth feel, aromas and palate between these three wines that we were again perplexed as to the definition of ‘Pinot Noir’. We had to admit we were enjoying all of them; probably easier to process after so many different manifestations of the grape during the last couple of days.
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muller-Thurgau wines book-ended the Pinot Noirs being both dry and dessert wines. It was another level of exploration of Pinot wines, wonderful people and breathtaking views.