Year after year, Jim Bernau’s team produces one of the Pacific Northwest’s most delightful and fun wines with its Whole Cluster Pinot Noir — a fresh and fruity drink made from six clones using some carbonic maceration and without any wood. Aromas of cranberry sauce, cherry cola, ripe blueberry and cherry pipe tobacco lead to ripe and long flavors of black cherry, strawberry/rhubarb, vanilla, dark chocolate and sage. The lively balance of tannin and acid makes for a fanciful mouth feel that’s a bit of a quaffer, and it’s a wine meant to be enjoyed sooner rather than later. Winery chef Eric Nelson suggests serving it with barbecued fare, sushi or gourmet burgers. And with this level of production, there’s still plenty to go around beyond Willamette Valley Vineyards’ 5,000 shareholders.
Production: 32,000 cases