INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR, JOSH RAYNOLDS, JULY-AUGUST 2011
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Casteel Reserve Eola-Amity Hills – 93
($60) Complex, spice-accented bouquet displays raspberry preserves, cherry-cola, potpourri and smoky minerals. Energetic and precise on the palate, offering juicy red and dark berry flavors that show impressive depth and energy. Gains weight with air, picking up a mocha note and finishing with impressive power and focus. I’d stash this away for at least five more years.
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills – 90
($30) Pungent, floral-accented aromas of cherry-cola and dark berries, with a sexy note of Indian spices emerging with air. Fleshy and smooth, with sappy dark berry flavors and notes of allspice and black cardamom. This very suave pinot finishes with strong thrust and sweet persistence.
2009 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – 88
($28) Strawberry and spices on the nose, along with a subtle floral quality and a touch of black tea. Fresh, focused red fruit flavors show good intensity, no excess weight and a tangy spine of acidity. With its good finishing cut and tangy persistence, this is very easy to drink.
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Flat Block Eola-Amity Hills – 92
($50) Bright, assertive aromas of strawberry and raspberry, with complicating Asian spice and floral accents. Juicy, precise and alluringly sweet, offering lively red berry and cherry flavors and an exotic spicecake quality. Suave, silky and precise, finishing with excellent clarity and persistence.
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills – 92
($50) High-pitched aromas of raspberry, cherry, Asian spice and fresh flowers, with a touch of white pepper. Lively and precise on the palate, offering sappy red berry and floral pastille flavors underscored by tangy minerality and a note of blood orange. Impressively pure and focused, but there’s depth here too. Finishes on a bright, spicy note, with lingering florality. I really like this wine’s balance and precision.
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills – 91 (+?)
($50) Aromas of blackberry, cherry-vanilla, sassafras and potpourri, with slow-building spiciness and a hint of musky underbrush. Pliant and deep in dark fruit flavors, with a firm mineral spine and late tannins adding structure. Powerful but very well-balanced pinot noir, finishing with excellent clarity and spicy persistence. I’d age this for another five years or so and then serve it with grilled red meats.
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills – 92 (+?)
($50) Pungent aromas of blackberry, cola, violet and black tea, with a brighter mineral quality emerging with aeration. Juicy, palate-staining dark berry flavors possess very good depth and show a gentle sweetness. Floral pastille and spicecake nuances come up on the back half and carry through a long, sappy, focused finish. The most serious of this year’s set of pinots right now; give it plenty of air if you want to drink it any time soon.
2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir West Block Eola-Amity Hills – 92
($50) Black raspberry, incense, dried rose and allspice on the nose, with a sneaky note of cola gaining strength with air. Sappy and concentrated, with sweet red and dark berry flavors and a hint of bitter cherry. Leads with its fruit today and finishes with impressive energy and lingering spiciness. Give this some air if you are compelled to drink one now.