Knudsen Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $55

It’s rather ironic that proprietor Page Knudsen Cowles, who grew up in the Northwest and now lives in Minneapolis, hired a graduate of the University of Minnesota to make her family’s wines in the Willamette Valley. And yet, it was natural appointment to go with Nate Klostermann of Argyle Winery, the right-hand man for renowned Rollin Soles who had worked with storied Knudsen fruit for decades. Wine Press Northwest magazine selected Knudsen Vineyards as its Oregon Winery to Watch in 2016, and this young brand launched with the 2012 vintage by the late Cal Knudsen’s kids continues to show elegance. They chose to focus on Dijon clone 777 and Pommard for the 2015 vintage and dialed back the 15 months of oak influence, going from 25 percent new French barrels to 20 percent. Its beautiful garnet color leads to classic Dundee Hills high-toned red fruit aromas and flavors, hinting at Triple Berry Pie with cardamom, cranberry-rhubarb compote and a dusting of white pepper amid a structure that exhibits restraint.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 500 cases

Alcohol: 14.1%

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