My love affair with pinot noir is relatively new. I admit that up until a few years ago I really believed a red wine should smack you upside the head with bold tannins and racy acidity. I thought pinot was a little lacking, a bit of a let-down after chewy cabernet sauvignons and full-bodied merlots. Hey, a girl can be wrong and graciously admit it.
Today pinot noir whispers in my ear and romances me much as it’s captivated hundreds of thousands of other wine lovers. You can actually find one that smacks you upside the head though it’s rare and, if done wrong, not a good thing. Pinot noir is delicate, feminine, perfumy, earthy and typically displays beautiful red fruit characteristics.
It is the earthy pinots that I am most drawn to. Sure, they still give aromas of strawberry but the forest floor funk sets me into a tailspin with the first whiff. I love that! Mushroom, wet leaves and dirt mixed with a hint of smoke and a waft of violets—instinctively I want mushroom risotto, or roasted beets sprinkled with warm goat cheese. Of course pork and lamb are traditional pairings but the Northwest girl in me opts for salmon, salmon and more salmon, please and thank you.
Synonymous with Willamette Valley pinot noir is Adelsheim Vineyard—David Adelsheim, co-founder and president, began planting pinot in 1972. Their newest release, 2014 Breaking Ground, is a culmination of their 45 year commitment to Valley pinot and a celebration of the success that commitment has helped create.
With grapes sourced from the Chehalem Mountains, this pinot noir is elegant, lingering and worth the wait. It is, in fact, the first new wine for Adelsheim since 2005. An approachable wine with soft tannins, the luscious and velvety mouth-feel give way to hints of cocoa on the finish and the balanced acidity is a tell-tale sign of the ageability of the 2014 Breaking Ground.
At $45 per bottle, this Adelsheim 2014 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir may be a special occasion wine for some or a Wednesday night wine down for others. Whatever the reason, its restrained elegance is a beautiful thing.