91 Point Pinot, Under $30

How About a 91 point Pinot Noir for Under Thirty Bucks?!?!?

This week's selection : Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, 2011, a balanced Pinot from the cool Willamette Valley.

When word got out that Dominque Lafon had started making Pinot Noir in Oregon, it created quite a buzz. He signed on as the consulting winemaker for Evening Land Vineyards (ELV), a wine label started in 2005 by Mark Tarlov, a former Hollywood guy, along with partners Danny Meyer, Jacques Prieur, and Dorothy Cann Hamilton.

Since its founding, the winery has undergone a number of changes. Founder Mark Tarlov left the company in January 2012. In the summer of 2012, Evening Land sold its 40 acres of Sta. Rita Hills acreage holdings to Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr. Moorman and Parr introduced their own estate label, Domaine de la Côte in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in the fall of 2013.

In 2014, Moorman, Parr and Charles Banks of Terroir Selections became minority partners in Evening Land Vineyards and took over operations. Wine maker Ian Burch was named winemaker, and Dominique Lafon, a consultant on the project, continues to play a large role.

The grapes for the Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir are predominantly from the Eola Springs Vineyard – the fruit from these old vines complements new plantings at Seven Springs Vineyard to create a beautiful representation the AVA. Both vineyards showcase the famous red, volcanic soils that the region is famous for and are farmed by sustainable and organic practices, respectively, to emphasize stewardship of the land.

The grapes were hand-picked, hand-sorted, de-stemmed and began to ferment naturally after a 4-5 day cold soak in our open top oak and concrete fermenters. Gentle punch-downs were performed twice daily throughout fermentation to help soften the extraction of the tannins. Aging occurred in once-filled and neutral French oak barrels for 14 months; bottled unfined.

Beautiful deep garnet in color, the nose is filled with bright cherry aromas with floral notes and undertones of earthy forest floor. The palate is broad with lush, with a slightly chalky texture, yet elegant and precise with sustained fruit flavors amongst fine and textured tannins. The wine finishes elegantly in harmonious fashion.

90 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Blueberry and huckleberry inform an ingratiatingly polished palate..., the overall impression unusually soft and sweetly ripe for a 2011. A savory undertone of meat stock serves for saliva inducement in a lingering finish. This bottling saw only second year and older barrels."

91 points, Wine & Spirits: "Excels in this sort of smoky, mineral-driven red, a Pinot with brooding density."

Wines of this quality are normally seen in the marketplace for $45/bottle and up. The winery switched distributors, and the wine was made availabale to us at a substantial discount, which we are passing onto you.

At under $30 when purchased in a case, this is a screaming deal that you shouldn't pass up. Surely, there's salmon and poultry in your dining future, and Evening Land Eola-Hills Pinot is just the ticket!

Regular Farmstead price of $39.99
now $33 - 17.4%% off

$31.35 each for 6 bottles or
$29.70 for 12(26% off!)

While supplies last or through 5/31/2015, whichever comes first. Bottles may be combined with other Farmstead wines to get to the discounted price.