Top Accolades from Oregon’s “Vintage of a Lifetime”
At the 31st International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon last week, we tasted spectacular wine from 70+ worldwide producers. By the end, we had a clear winner: the 2014 Ponzi Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. This silky jewel won 96 points and a “Cellar Selection” commendation from Wine Enthusiast. “Aromatic, dense and toasty,” raved the publication. “Tannins are polished to a fine sheen.” The Wine Enthusiast 2014 Pinot Noir Honor Roll above makes clear what a massive value this release is at the Wine Access price of $55, as elite bottles of the same score are selling for three or five times as much. Schooled in Beaune and trained under Christophe Roumier at the legendary Domaine Georges Roumier in Chambolle-Musigny, Luisa Ponzi showed off all her Burgundian prowess with this effort.
From the batch of Oregon’s otherworldly 2014 Pinots — at well under half the price of the competition — it may be the best value of the vintage yet. Considering that the vintage is 2014 (a sensational year in Oregon, potentially the “vintage of a lifetime” according to Antonio Galloni) this age-worthy effort will have serious Pinot collectors running from afar.
When we reached the Ponzi booth on our IPNC tour, our friend, winemaker Luisa Ponzi, was beaming. “The fruit is primarily estate-grown, sourced in the Chehalem Mountains from some of Oregon’s oldest vines,” she told us as she poured out a ruby-hued glass. “The 2014 vintage really was everything it’s cracked up to be. Despite steady heat in June and July, there wasn’t a single day that temperatures reached 100 degrees. Conditions were near perfect, vines bathing in the sunshine day after day. When we made the call to harvest in September, the fruit was clean, pure, and ripe as in 2012, if not better.” One sip from the glass we were handed — showing a dense black-fruit core and mouthwatering acidity — convinced us to snap up as many bottles as we could lay hands on.