The planting of Elton Vineyard, one of Oregon’s top sites, began in 1983 — the same year Jim Bernau established Willamette Valley Vineyards — so both grower and vintner have risen alongside each other. From a historic 2012 vintage, Don Crank’s winemaking with Dijon 115, 777 and Pommard clones raised in iron-laden Jory and Nekia soils produced a Pinot Noir that’s filled with dark purple fruit tones. Aromas of Marionberry, blueberry and President plum pick up cocoa, coffee and earthiness. The drink is big, rich and sweet, reminiscent of a Syrah from Côte-Rôtie in its black plums and elderberry with focused tannins, youthful acidity and pinches of mint and lavender. Pairing ideas include herb-crusted beef tenderloin, smoked duck or filet mignon.
Production: 682 cases