Okay, this will be hard to synopsize but here goes: Louise Castaldo (Mixers) invited me to discuss the idea of a “Eve’s Wine on Wednesdays” (complete with artwork to tease me) – where I would taste and select wines in advance for peeps to taste – at the same time she had Annie Shull (owner, Raptor Ridge Winery) pouring her Oregon Pinot Noir line-up.
Lost you yet?
Well, at press time, we are still working out the details on which wines, the times, the pairings, etc. for the tastings at Mixers. But at the time we met, having Annie Shull there, pouring her Raptor Ridge wines…I just had to turn all of my attention to:
2010 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
Color – Clear, clean, palest silvery hay.
Aroma – Akin to a Sauvignon Blanc with crisp lemon and what Annie Shull called “acidic balance”.
Taste – High acid, lemon, green apple with a nice long finish.
2009 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Color – Deep raspberry.
Aroma – Stemmy, mature fruit.
Taste – Bright cherry, balanced yet some acid held in through to a medium finish.
2007 (Barrel Selection) Pinot Noir Reserve, Willamette Valley
Color – Clear, cherry-hued.
Aroma – Smoke, pepper, bell pepper.
Taste – Both balanced and dry again.
2008 (Barrel Selection) Pinot Noir Reserve, Willamette Valley
Color – Clear, garnet.
Aroma – Very smoky, toast, blue cheese, mushroom – a favorite already!
Taste – The same descriptors in the aroma carried through to the taste as well.
2008 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton (Only available in 375 ml half bottles)
Color – clear, cherry.
Aroma – Smokey, cherry again.
Taste – Dry, tannic, spice, cherry-forward.
2009 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton
Color – Clear, pale red (never used red in describing color, funny, maybe I barreled through this tasting far too fast!)
Aroma – Smoke and ripe cherry.
Taste – Young, cherry-ripe with some cigar.
Raptor Ridge, founded in 1995 by Scott and Annie Shull, is named for birds of prey families such as Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Kestrels and Sharp-Shinned Hawks that make their home in the Chehalem Mountains and protect vineyards and farms from numerous pests. A new winery at the estate vineyard was completed in 2010. Several distinctive vineyards in Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley supply additional premium wine grapes. Raptor Ridge produces around 6500 cases of wine per vintage using traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques. Uncompromised quality and fine balance is the focus, not large quantities.
Raptor Ridge’s approach to winemaking focuses as much on the vineyard as the cellar. The Shulls partner with growers in pruning, trellising, cluster counting and thinning, leaf pulling, quality monitoring, and all harvest decisions. During harvest, Scott is in the field alongside seasonal workers, and often transports the grapes back to winery where he oversees the crush. Scott intervenes as little as possible in the winemaking process, employing a full knowledge of fermentation science to enhance quality only when necessary.
Annie Shull, owner and grower.