Torii Mor Winery
2007 'La Cuilere' Member's Reserve Pinot Noir
Oregon: Dundee Hills
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Mission Codename: The Golden Spoon
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, where unique Pinot Noirs are born. Infiltrate Torii Mor Winery, whose Pinot Noirs have been earning stellar scores. Secure an ample allocation for our Pinot-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Torii Mor
Wine Subject: 2007 La Cuillère Members Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Chris Williams
Backgrounder: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just south of Portland and along the Willamette River is well known for Pinot Noir and other Burgundian varietals. Its deep and fertile volcanic soil, cooler climate most directly effect viticulture. Most of the vineyards in this area are planted in the valley’s and hillsides along the river.
Today, we celebrate Torii Mor Winery and winemaker, Jacques Tardy, whose family has been engaged in wine making and grape growing over the last five generations, in France. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes, along with his interview with Jacques Tardy, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous ruby hues and perfect clarity, from the core of the wine, out to the pink edges. When swirled, thick tears take a long time to form – before falling slowly, from low on the glass wall.
Smell – Lush and full, with aromas of black cherry, earthy tobacco, dried fall leaves, wild strawberry and raspberry bramble. As the wine opens, it reveals soft spice, dark chocolate and cigar box with hints of dried orange peel and pine needles.
Feel – Velvet-smooth and round with a satiny entry. As the wine moves onto the mid-palate, it gains weight and dimension, with balanced acids and supple tannins adding complexity and intrigue.
Taste – Bright black and red fruit take lead with black cherry, wild strawberry candy, young blackberry and Bing cherry in the lead. As the wine breathes, it opens up, revealing cigar box, forest floor, dried cranberry with hints of subtle dried herbs and flint.
Finish – Long, sweet and flavorful, with long-sustaining bright red fruit, earth and soft spice. At the end, hints of subtle dried herbs and flinty minerals appear as the palate becomes slightly dry.
Conclusion – Recommended, and available in very limited quantity, today’s 2007 Torii Mor La Cuillère Members Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a delightful, delicious, approachable wine. Once the wine opened up (we recommend decanting for at least 30 minutes) our tasting panel found itself taking large gulps of this wine. This wine shows off its terroir, with plenty of characteristic earthiness, but it was the sweet and tart red fruits that really got our attention; the fruit was balanced, red, delicious and just juicy enough to make it more widely appealing to lovers of California Pinot Noir. In other words, this wine is distinctly Oregon but with just the right amount of California flair. Pair this elegant, flexible and food-friendly wine with lamb or a savory grilled chicken dish. Act qquickly, dear Operative, this wine will sell out.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the VINEYARD can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
The 2007 “La Cuillère” aroma has a mix of tobacco, black cherries, earth, smoke and light toasty oak notes. The flavors show richness and power, with concentrated dark cherries, dark chocolate, very light herbal accents, and some oak notes, all framed by mouth watering acidity that makes the flavors come alive. The texture is rich, with sweet, structured tannins that fill the mouth-feel. The finish is long with dark cherries, rich spiciness and that same dark chocolate note. This wine will benefit from a little more cellaring (until summer 2010), or decanted and aerated to soften up the tannins.
The Vintage: The 2007 growing season began with bud break the first week of April which turned out being much wetter and cooler than normal. With May and June being dryer and warmer than average, bloom was right on time, starting mid June in the Willamette Valley, with some cool weather that did not limit the fruit set. The summer was dry and warm with a few very wet days with 1.5 inches of rain from July 17th to the 21st. Another half inch fell on August 19th, and the month finished warmer than average with veraison starting around the 24th. September ended up cooler with some very wet days- with 2.5 inches in two days on September 28th and 30th; the rain continued through October with an inch on the 2nd and 3rd with more to come… All of our fruit was hand picked, as ripe as could be under the circumstances. The clusters were large with large berries swollen by the recent rainstorms.
The Vineyards: The grapes that comprise Torii Mor’s 2006 “La Cuillère” bottling come from 3 vineyards: 50% from Battle Creek, 40% from Willakia in Carlton and 10% from Hawk’s View. The harvest dates spread from September 26th to October 6th
The Cellar: At Torii Mor it is believed that the best possible wine is crafted by fermenting grapes block by block in designated lots until the final blending stage. This process enables us to not only know each vineyard individually, but also to express each vineyard’s characteristics. This process allows us to optimize the final blending of wine as we combine only the lots we feel will produce a truly outstanding Pinot noir. The wine aged for 15 months in French oak: 30% new, 30% one year old, 20% two year old and the rest
About The Winery:
As a long-time connoisseur of French Burgundy, Dr. Donald Olson set out on a journey to create world-class wine in his beloved state of Oregon. In 1993, he founded Torii Mor as a tribute to his late son, Leif. With its roots in the forefront of Oregon’s wine industry, Olson Estate Vineyard, planted in 1972, is one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon. Sitting high in the Dundee Hills at 800 feet on just under fifteen acres of Pinot Noir vines, Torii Mor released its first vintage in 1993 of no more than 1,000 cases. Torii Mor has since matured into an ultra-premium producer of Pinot Noir with an annual production of 15,000 cases.
Since its beginnings in Burgundy, Pinot Noir has long been considered one of the most terrior-expressive varieties of grape. This strong tie to the earth was something Dr. Olson wanted to convey when he decided on a name for his new venture. Borrowing from the Japanese, “Torii” refers to the ornate gates often seen at the entrances of gardens. “Mor”, meaning earth, was then chosen as homage to Dr. Olson’s Scandinavian heritage. By joining these two distinct languages, the name Torii Mor and a romantic image of a beautiful gate to the earth was created.
Late in 2004, Jacques Tardy joined Torii Mor as head winemaker. With his Burgundian heritage and five generations of winemakers in his family history, Jacques brought the experience and style for which Torii Mor is now recognized. With a keen focus on structure and balance, the elegance of Jacques’ wines has branded Torii Mor as one of the top-ranked producers of Pinot Noir in the United States.
With the completion of its new LEED Gold Certified winery in 2007, Torii Mor has shown that it not only has a commitment to making world-class wines, but also to preserving the earth it depends on for its success. By making ecologically smart choices and farming organically in its LIVE Certified vineyard, Torii Mor is not only building a sustainable business but a harmonious relationship with the earth. Dr. Olson continues to be involved in all aspects of the company as General Manager and CEO.
Total acidity (T.A.): .57 gr/100 ml
Residual sugar (R.S.): 0.2 gr/100 ml