The Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s summer fundraising event, Willamette: the Pinot noir Auction, is just days away, on Thursday, August 5! If you have a license to sell wine and customers who enjoy good Pinot noir and Chardonnay, this is your opportunity to buy exclusive lots made by some of the best wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Love these wines but don’t have a resale license? Ask your favorite wine shop or restaurant to attend the auction, either in-person or virtually, and buy some for you!
Since COVID-19 is still very much circulating the globe, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association is limiting the number of people attending the in-person auction event. An outdoor tasting of all the special wine lots before lunch and the auction allows wine folks that attend to sample the wines beforehand. Even fully vaccinated, I am grateful for the precautionary measures they are taking to limit possible exposure. The ability to bid online is great for those buyers unable or unwilling to travel to Oregon this year.
Now in its sixth year, the auction celebrates the best Pinot noir and Chardonnay Oregon has to offer. Willamette Valley Wineries Association members make small wine lots of 5, 10, or 20 cases that are not available to buy or taste anywhere else but at this auction. The event proceeds will be used for association marketing, branding, and education.
I am beyond excited to be attending this auction! Matt will be wearing his wine buying hat and I am going as a member of the wine media. It just so happens that August 5 is my birthday and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate! Neither Matt nor I have participated in any wine industry tasting events since February 2020 and we both are looking forward to seeing our wine friends again in real life.
All the wines available for auction are from the 2019 vintage. After several very warm vintages, grape growers and winemakers appreciated the return to a more typical Oregon growing season. Mild frost in late April led to a slightly cooler growing season with few heat spikes. Then significant precipitation during late June and early July kept everyone on their toes. Sunshine without high temperatures through the rest of July and August was just what we all wanted, including the grapes! However, by September, the rain had returned, bringing with it cooler temperatures and disease concerns. As harvest neared, grape growers and winemakers fretted over ripening levels and just when to pick their fruit. Weather like this causes angst and nail-biting in Oregon’s wine industry but similar vintages in the past have proven that they offer the ultimate reward– elegant, highly ageable wines.
These are the vintages I especially love! I can’t wait to taste more 2019 Pinots and start stocking my cellar with them.
Durant Vineyards winemaker Spencer Spetnagel recently offered me a sample of their auction contribution. Named Rule of Thirds, the lot of 5 cases will be available to purchase during the auction. Made from grapes grown at three different elevations in the Durant Vineyard, each block was fermented and barreled separately (three barrels in total) before being blended together. Thirty-three percent was whole cluster and 33% was aged in new French oak. That’s quite a lot of threes and thirds!
Oregon wine: 2019 Durant Vineyards Rule of Thirds Pinot noir
Rose petals // sour cherries // baking spices // whiff of earth // red plums // rasbperries // sliced almonds
Rose hips // red plums // tart // baking spices // sour cherries // forest floor // cardamom // vibrant // laser-like focus // long finish
Michele Francisco, a founder and regular contributor to Winerabble, a blog primarily about Pacific Northwest wines, is living the dream in Portland, Oregon. Her passion leads some to believe she's got wine running through her veins. Contact Michele at email@example.com & be sure to visit her online portfolio at www.michelefrancisco.com.