Elk Cove, "Five Mountain" Pinot Noir 2013
Pinot Noir｜Chehalem Mountain, Oregon
Oregon and its famed Willamette Valley is home to some of the most classically-styled "new world" Pinots today. One defining characteristic of Willamette Pinots is their uncanny resemblance to Burgundy – in everything except price. Elk Cove’s tremendous “Five Mountain” cuvée is a masterclass in elegance, understatement, and finesse through-and-through. Its proximity to a Premier-Cru Burgundy should not go unnoticed.
Husband-and-wife team Joe and Pat Campbell founded Elk Cove in 1974, a full seven years before California delimited Napa Valley as the first AVA in the state. Their son Adam came on as winemaker in 1995 and it’s been family-run ever since.
With year-round rainfall and poor, rugged soils, growing grapes in the Chehalem Mountain is a testament to quality. As the Campbells like to say, “We don’t grow grapes here because it’s easy.” But their work and dedication is rewarded, and its longevity proven without a doubt. On release it received double 92 points from Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits magazines, and I would argue it’s drinking even better now than it was then!
Immediately upon opening it releases a tightly-wound, exotic bouquet of fig, raspberry coulis, and wonderfully savory, developed notes starting to show in bacon fat, warm spice (cardamom and pepper) and a dark, leathery, mushroom aspect. Rich bing cherries and rose petal-laced potpourri follow the nose, with lip-smacking juiciness bolstered by uber-silky tannins, perfectly woven into the fruit-and-flower-and-earth frame enveloping it. It reminds me of a Premier-Cru Pommard or minerally Volnay in its complexity and finesse, at a third of the price no less!
Under $50 for a cellar-direct aged masterpiece such as this is a rare find indeed. And with free shipping on just four bottles, it’ll make a grand addition to your own cellar to enjoy now and for another 3-5 years. Cheers!