Anahata Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Empty bottle weight: 22.0 ounces // 626 grams
196 cases produced
Native yeast fermentation
Aubaine (pronounced Ō-Bane) Wines is focused specifically on estate-grown, Eola-Amity Hills AVA Pinot noir and Chardonnay. With 2019 being their inaugural vintage, Aubaine has hit a slam-dunk at the start of the game! Started by Andy Lytle– no stranger to the Oregon wine world– whose other wine label, Lytle-Barnett, is a partnership with Antony Beck, owner of the South African sparkling producer Graham Beck Wines. Click here to read our Why Wine interview with Andy Lytle.
The Pinot grapes for this wine were grown at his Anahata Vineyard, 24 acres of grapevines surrounding AtTheJoy, a luxurious 30-acre compound available for short-term rental. (If you’re looking for a place in the heart of the Willamette Valley, follow this link to read more about AtTheJoy’s accommodations. Winerabbler Matt has stayed there a couple of times!)
Situated within the path of the Van Duzer Corridor winds, the grapes enjoy strong cool ocean breezes each evening during the summer. These wines toughen their skins, concentrate their flavors, and raise their natural acidity levels, all important components in making great Pinot noir. Aubaine, French for windfall, is a nod to the effect of those winds, represented by the blue waves on the label, blowing over the Eola-Amity Hills, depicted by the green waves.
The 2019 growing season started off quite cool, with some frost during bud break, resulting in uneven fruit set. The Pinot noir clusters produced what’s called “hens and chicks,” when some of the grapes are larger and further along in the ripening process (the hens) and other, smaller berries trail behind (the chicks). Also referred to by its French name millerandage, when Pinot noir fruit ripens unevenly like this, the skin to juice ratio is skewed, resulting in more concentrated flavors, something Oregon winemakers embrace.
I found this Pinot to be surprisingly delicate for one grown in the Eola-Amity Hills. The tart notes combined with tannins in a lovely, elegant fashion. Aubaine calls this wine an iron fist in a velvet glove, all in grace and harmony. A perfect description for this Pinot noir!
Cranberries // forest floor // bacon fat // black cherries // maple syrup // almonds
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.