“It may be Benton-Lane’s eye-catching postage-stamp labels that first attract shoppers, but it’s the juicy, well-made wines that keep them coming back. The winery’s basic Willamette Pinot became popular in the 1990s as a go-to value red, and it still is. At the high end, its top Pinot is among Oregon’s greatest wines.”
Food & Wine, “Oregon Wine Producers We Love”, Aug 2013
Benton-Lane’s Willamette Valley estate vineyard experienced another fine, warm year in 2015. Biodynamically-farmed grapes ripened fully with a profile leaning toward black fruit over red fruit. Fermentation took place in small open-top fermentors and larger stainless steel tanks. The smaller vessels were punched down by hand to extract colour and flavour from the skins. The larger tanks were subject to a gentle technique called “pneumatage”: large air bubbles are introduced to the tank. As they rise through the fermenting wine, they break the cap of skins that sits on top, mixing the wine and skins without extracting bitter tannins from the grape seeds. The wine was moved to French oak barrels (20% new) where it matured for eight months before bottling the summer after harvest.
Growing season and cellar practice bring a depth and concentration to the wine. This vintage shows a fine synergy, with all components married well. The wine is rich and deep, with flavours of boysenberry, cassis, and white pepper. The finish carries the sweet note of toasted oak from fine French oak barrels. Some wines are undeniably well-balanced: this Pinot certainly is.
“This pinot noir shows plums, strawberries and hints of yogurt. Medium body, firm tannins and a medium finish. Solid and fresh. Drink now. Screw cap.”
91 points, JamesSuckling.com, Dec 2017