Earth Heart Erath is a logo on the back of the many Pinot Noirs made by Erath Winery, one of the first in Oregon we visited when we lived in the area in 1997. Thirty-two years earlier, Dick Erath made his first barrel of Erath wine in the garage of his home. By last year, all 10 Erath single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from the 2006 vintage received ratings of 90 points or higher from the wine industry’s top publications.
Indeed, the red, iron-rich earth in Oregon’s Dundee Hills does love Erath grapes.
We know that first-hand because over the past couple of months, we’ve tasted samples of the 2008 vintage sent to us by the winery. From the special Pinot Noir, 2008 La Nuit Magique (The Magic Night) to the classic 2008 Prince Hill Pinot Noir, we recommend them all – different wines for different occasions.
2008 La Nuit Magique: Ooh la la, c’est magnifique! We could most definitely discern the difference in this magnificent, magical Pinot Noir, made from the finest barrels in the Erath cellar. According to the winery, La Nuit Magique “refers to the defining moment when one falls in love with Pinot Noir – that Magic Night when wine transcends the moment and becomes immortalized as one of life’s great wine experiences.” Save this beauty for a special occasion! – 92 points from Wine Spectator ($65)
2008 Prince Hill Pommard: The Pommard clone is planted at the top of the hill in Prince Hill Vineyard, next to Dick Erath’s house. The clone was originally sourced from the Chateau de Pommard in France, and introduced to Oregon in the early 1970s. While we didn’t smell the promised root beer float aromas, we really enjoyed the smoky dark fruit flavors with hints of dark chocolate. – 90 points from Wine Spectator ($50)
2008 Leland Pinot Noir: This has been a special wine for us since the 2005 vintage. Complex, rich, powerful and elegant, we once again paired Leland with steaks, even though the tasting notes suggest sipping it with savory cheeses, rack of lamb or lasagna with bolognese or carbonara sauce. The 2008 vintage is smooth and silky with a delicate smoky finish. ($50)
2008 Prince Hill Pinot Noir Clone 115: Also from the Prince Hill Vineyard, this plush Pinot was one of our favorites, with spicy notes and a luxurious mouthfeel. We sipped this without food, and it was a beautiful way to enjoy the evening. – 93 points from Wine Spectator ($45)
2008 Prince Hill Pinot Noir: This is a classic Erath Pinot Noir – bright, light and fruit-forward. The Prince Hill Vineyard was where the first Pinot Noir vines were planted in 1983. – 91 points from Wine Spectator ($45)
2008 Estate Selection Pinot Noir Willamette Valley: We paired this lovely wine with roast beef although apparently it complements salmon, lamb and duck too. This reserve-quality Pinot is bright and lively, with a bit of a spicy finish. – 90 points from Wine Spectator ($34)
If you’re a Pinot lover, Erath offers a wide variety of choices to suit every palate.