93 Points, JS
When I was at Lemelson a few years ago, they walked me through their one-of-a-kind gravity flow winery with a spider looking machine that looks like the movie Wild Wild West, and a three-story gravity flow operation that has the winemaking team walking up and down regularly to check on the state of things. It made me think that no winery can boast the kind of calves that Eric Lemelson and his team can.
It does make a difference in the wine though– no pumps, no machines, no additives — just the purest expression of Willamette Valley Pinot possible with virtually no human intervention. It’ll never pay off what it cost, but I’m pretty sure the Lemelson’s aren’t worried– the payout is in the finished product.
After my tour, I was treated to a tasting of the white flight followed by the reds. They really make some fantastic estate grown wines. My favorite of the bunch came early in the Red flight, a flawless Pinot Noir that I was told was called Thea’s Selection. It was an absolute knockout, outclassing many of their single-vineyard bottlings (an observation I chose not to share with their winemaker, Matt Wengel) – though he could easily tell how much I liked it.
Released at $34/bottle, the Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir is arguably the most well known in Lemelson’s impressive collection. It’s made from a blend of all seven 100% organic certified estate vineyards, spread across arguably the two best wine AVAS in the state, Dundee Hills and Yamhill-Carlton. A constant 92+ point getter, it’s graced Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list twice in its short existence and in a sensational 2018 vintage, it threatens to do so again.
It’s just so fresh and vibrant with an emphatic expression of berries and herbs and an effortless smoothness that lasts through the finish. It’s Oregon Pinot at its best– when you feel like you’re drinking silk. I’m getting in before Enthusiast and Spectator review it– but it’s already attached to a 93-point review from the busiest man in wine, James Suckling.
93 Points, James Suckling
Cherries, watermelon, stewed strawberries, mocha and nutmeg on the nose. It’s medium-bodied with powdery tannins and spicy, cedary character. Polished. Drink now or hold.