In the heart of the Southern Willamette Valley, Iris Vineyards has been making a splash with their award winning Pinot Noir grown on their own estate vineyard in the foothills of the Oregon Coast. Like many winegrowers, they are blessed by a cool-climate set up that allows their grapes to mature slowly while maintaining all the pure fruit and natural acidic balance.
But Iris has a few advantages over the neighbors. For one, they’re positioned much further south than most of the Willamette Valley wineries. Away from the cluster, they have a sprawling estate that they got to plant, however they’d like. Their vines are all planted between 800-1100 in elevation, giving them especially cool-climate conditions at night, perfect for retaining acidity in Pinot grapes.
The majority of the vineyard is also planted on Jory soil (100 acres), a very deep, well-drained soil that formed in colluvium derived from basic igneous rock. The sacred red soil is Oregon’s ‘secret weapon’ across all agriculture – the driving force between wine, hazelnuts, christmas trees and so much more in the state.
With the perfect location and team in place to make great wines, Iris has been delivering exceptional wines at tremendous value since the mid-1990’s. If there’s one down side to Iris, it is that this ideal location happens to be a bit out of the way comparatively– tucked away near Eugene and over an hour away from the largest group of wineries.
For that reason, I think they’ve flown a little under the radar. No problem for us, it’s probably also why one of the better Estate Pinot Noirs I’ve had in a while can be had at a crazy under $25/bottle price tag
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91 Points, James Suckling
Aromas of wild red berries, dried herbs and fresh coffee. Medium-bodied with juicy, soft tannins. Bright berries and a citrus undertone. Drink now.
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