I snuck out of my cave on this brilliant day to taste some old Willamette Valley Eyrie Vineyards. It is always such a treat to see Jason Lett hold forth on his family's estate. For one, he is an excellent speaker, natural and unguarded, has a lovely expressive use of language. Also, the love he has for his legacy is inspiring.
I'm always touched to hear a winery stops at their max, 8000 cases. They did that in 1983 and stayed at that volume. The need not to grow? How refreshing to see someone do what they do and do it well and, be satisfied. No need for world domination.
It seems that David, his father, was obsessive about keeping a huge amount in the wine libary, at this point about 6,000 bottles deep. At one time Jason thought he'd get away and do his own thing. but in 2004 when his dad needed help for harvest he showed up and never left.
When his father got sick, he allowed Jason to find his ownway though the wines.
I'm sure there was much argument, after all, David was a difficult, loveable, hard headed guy (from my limited knowledge and tales that have been told) but one of the more touching comments was that every time Jason tastes from the library one of his father's vintages, the collaboration continues. I love this idea of conversing with ones ghostly parents through the wines they made.
Eyrie Pinot Meunier. 1993!
A twenty year old pineo meunier from two different plots, high acid, high tone and high delight. Made me feel like playing Frank Zappa. An absolutel beauty. Look for it on choice and lucky wine lists and I bet I know which ones. This wine was pure forest wild strawberries, long delight and showed no sign of tiring.
1993 Chardonnay Estate
(picked at 21 brix) elegant, floral and compelling.
1983 South Block Pinot
A dancer in disguise, etheral, skimmed the floor with elegance and endurance
1974 Pinot Noir Estate
Sorry, not available. This was the scond year the south block gave fruit and made up 45% of the cuvee. It is not only a beautiful old lady, but it is the Queen Mother in high heels. Smoky, touch of tannin and grip with strawberry pinched in wintergreen.
A treat for the mid day.
Heading out on my bike, I had a last minute lament with a colleague. We admited to major guilt. Too much writing, not enough tasting. Were we losing our edge? Were we not up on vintages and regions. Had we missed something? She went off tasting. I went back to my cubicle. Where is the balance. Take this as a warning; a tongue must be used or else it is lost. I'm on the hunt for mine.