2015 Retina Pinot Noir
The 2015 Retina Pinot noir comes from the organically farmed Jessie James Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills. The low vines here are planted at close spacing, which (combined with the dormer-laden building on the neighboring property) reminds me of Burgundy. The vines have limited growth and are more akin to vines in Napa than the typical wet, vigorously growing vines of Oregon.
Other than the famed Ratio brand, fruit from the tiny Jessie James Vineyard goes to Grant Coulter at Hundred Suns Wine, Evan and Sarah Martin at Martin Woods, and Mikey Etzel of Beaux Freres and Coattails.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve immersed my enormous nose into a glass of the 2015 Retina Pinot Noir to attempt to describe the aromas. The nose is somehow evasive, exhibiting black pepper spice intertwined with a mix of red and dark fruits: black cherry, plum, and strawberry. But there is something else there that reminds me of fresh clay, or maybe something more like sourdough? The pepper is primary though, so hopefully you like that aroma. Meanwhile, the palate is soft and supple (silk) with a mellow, dark berry and vanilla disposition that comes from time in barrel. Black pepper and red fruit complete the wine on the finish, making it more apt to pair with chicken and pork than darker cuts of meat. This wine is infused with potential and should age quite nicely for the next decade.
Human retinal ganglion cells as drawn by Alexander Dogiel in 1891
Vineyard: Jessie James Vineyard
AVA: Eola-Amity Hills
Clones: 70% Pommard & 30% Wadenswil
Harvested September 21, 2015
Brix at harvest = 23
30% whole cluster
18 months in 30% new French barrels (Taransaud) combined with neutral barrels
168 cases produced