These are exciting days for Willamette Valley Vineyards founder Jim Bernau, who is planting vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, breaking ground on the new Elton Winery project with Isabelle Meunier and welcoming Bill Fuller back into the cellar. Fuller’s Tualitin Estate, the O’Brien family’s Elton Vineyard and Bernau’s 30-year-old vineyard surrounding the winery once again combine for this bottling, which earns our highest rating for the second straight vintage. Eight months in 20% new French oak doesn’t mask the nose of black cherry, dark strawberry and raspberry, yet there are secondary notes of caramel, black olive, woodruff, lavender and mint. It’s a drink of elegant red fruit akin to strawberry-rhubarb pie, cherry and boysenberry, which is framed by delicate and delicious strawberry seed tannin and finished by raspberry. Production of the 2013 Estate is off by nearly 50 percent from the 2012, and pairing ideas include Oregon lamb, duck, pork, grilled salmon and aged cheeses.
Production: 9,385 cases
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