Nicolas-Jay Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2014

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Critical Acclaim 95 - One of the world's finest Pinot Noirs, this wine stands tall on the global stage! Exquisite and well-orchestrated, this is an amazing wine. When I first sniffed this wine, I was struck by its incredible purity. The vineyards and the Willamette Valley AVA spoke to me with brilliant and focused clarity and had me asking for more. Deep garnet in color, the nose offered enticing red and black fruit, with a distinct dried, savory herb note, black earth or black tea notes, and a definite a wildness about it. Medium bodied on the palate, sweet tannins are present to protect the wine as it ages. Medium acidity, well balanced; beautifully choreographed flavors of red to black fruits, a dash of dried earth and savory herbs, a spice box of natural pleasures; medium finish, youthful aftertaste. Drinking nicely now, with great cellaring potential.

Wine Enthusiast 94 - A stunning debut for this new boutique, a joint project between Jean-Nicolas Méo (Domaine Méo-Camuzet) and Jay Boberg, co-founder of the music label, IRS Records. Deep and penetrating fruit flavors of blackberry and raspberry are buttressed by ample, proportionate acids and tannins. There’s a graceful touch of fresh herb, along with black tea and clean loam.

Wine Spectator 93 - Broad, expressive and light-footed, this brims with cherry, plum, licorice and cashew flavors that keep singing on the focused finish. Drink now through 2024.

Vinous 92 - Deep bright red. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, cola, Asian spices and rhubarb, plus a suave floral topnote. Juicy and focused on entry, then broader in the midpalate, offering appealingly sweet, supple red and dark berry and spicecake flavors and suggestions of candied flowers and mocha. Finishes sappy and very long, displaying repeating spiciness and smooth, slow-building tannins. This is quite an impressive wine for a "basic" bottling, much less a freshman effort. Jean-Nicolas Meo, who oversees his family’s famed Meo-Camuzet domaine in Burgundy, has partnered with music executive and wine lover Jay Boberg on this new project and they have purchased the highly regarded, steeply sloped Bishop Creek vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton. The site covers 66 acres but only 15 were planted to vines when the transaction was made. New plantings are already underway so look for production to steadily move up over the next decade. Fruit is also sourced from the Nysa vineyard and other sites across the Willamette Valley. The wines are being made at Adelsheim for now, under the care of Associate Winemaker Tracy Kendall, who worked at the winery from 2011 until joining up with Meo and Boberg in 2014 to launch their wines. These are early days but based on this 2014 and 2015s, that I tasted from barrel in August the style of the wines is more restrained and less opulent, even exotic than what one finds at Meo-Camuzet.

The 2014 Willamette Valley pinot noir opens up with luxurious layers of blackberry and raspberry jam, underscored by rich tannins. Beneath the bright expression of fruit lies sophisticated notes of fresh loamy soil, black tea, dried cherries and the sweetness of fresh herbs. Although rich and expressive on the palate, the wine’s structural elements provide lovely tension throughout, drawing the wine to an elegant and nuanced conclusion.


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