Wine Review: Wiles Cellars Hope Cuvee 2008 Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley

This July when attending a portion of the International Pinot Noir Festival (IPNC) I was fortunate enough to meet transplanted Charleston native, Kevin Wiles, who like so many small artisans, visited Wine Country while running a wine shop and import business, and decided to jump in.

His first release of Pinot Noir was in 2007, named after his mother and niece, who share Hope as a middle name. Cuvee means the release is from a blend of different vineyards;  Temperance Hill Vineyard being the majority of the blend.

I have written and commented regularly about my growing preference for lighter, more ‘true’ pinot noirs, and was a bit taken aback at IPNC at the globalization of ‘Big Pinot’ ; the world points regularly to California to big pinot, but after recent tours of Oregon, and then the Al Fresco tasting of 35 different 2007 releases from 5 countries, it was more clear than ever it’s not just in Cali anymore. I understand WHY producers do this, the average consumer, migrating or exploring from a ‘knock me in the head cab” is expecting and erroneously been led to believe ‘bigger’ is better, and it sells. Understanding why winerys blend in syrah, and liking it, are different things.

Fortunately this Pinot Noir is a more modest style. It’s not quite the velvety, sexy Pinot Noir I personally crave, but wine reviews are about how the wine is made and its quality, not about my personal palate, something a few blogger ‘experts’ don’t seem to grasp.

Color: Dark Red/Purple. Slightly opaque.

On the Nose: Strawberry, cherry,  cranberry, hint of earth.

On the Palate: I was anticipating a ‘bigger’ Pinot from the dark color, but pleased to taste otherwise. Black cherry, slightly tart red fruit. Medium body mid palate, and good finish with nice acidity.

What to pair with: An excellent pinot for modest fare; grilled chicken, salmon, Milder (non gamey) meats, moderate pasta sauces.

Where to Purchase: Online here for $34, 10% discount for a case order.  This bottle was a media sample.

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