71. Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 O’Brien Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $100
Jim Bernau’s publicly traded winery continues to enjoy the returns on its investment in the 2012 vintage, and winemaker Don Crank’s kinship with Dick and Betty O’Brien — longtime owners of prized Elton Vineyard — is exemplified inside this special bottling. The significant expense of the nine months in 80% new French oak barrels emerges with heady aromas of white chocolate, vanilla, allspice and toasted filberts. It’s rather fascinating how the focus shifts almost entirely to fruit on the palate, which features silky black cherry, blackberry and boysenberry. While the tannins are a bit busty, it’s a pleasing tension that smooths out with delicious length. Suggested pairings include Beef Bourguignon, Coq au vin, rack of lamb and wild mushroom risotto.
Production: 107 cases