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  • By Jon Rimmerman
    11/22/2009, (See more on Garagiste...)

    (McKinlay Willamette Pinot Noir) 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir

    Dear Friends,

    This is exciting.

    2008 is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated Oregon Pinot Noir vintages since 1999 and the vineyards are a decade older. Many winemakers believe this is the finest vintage in the history of Oregon - a statement that should more than perk your interest (i.e., if that was said regarding Burgundy, there would already be a line around the world for the top domaines). In anticipation of great interest in the vintage, I've already begun to scour for the best unknown and artisanal 2008s and we may as well begin here - with the man affectionately known as the Lafarge of Oregon - Matt Kinne.

    Let's be frank, it's not easy to make a Volnay-like wine in Oregon. Few understand what you are doing and the perception is that your Pinot tastes like water - in Matt Kinne's case, it doesn't. With a subtlety and deftly Burgundian ethos, Matt has turned his McKinlay winery into one of the few underground Oregon establishments with a style that is recognizable in any blind tasting - Volnay-like, with little extractive and stunning varietal aromatics that actually smell like Pinot Noir (not wood), McKinlay comes close to what the perception of Oregon has always been - a true New World Burgundy. In 2008, this wine is not only a success, it has serious aspirations.

    The interesting part?

    McKinlay is one of the lowest priced Oregon examples on the market and, in a vintage like 2008, that is just what the doctor ordered for US consumers seeking value over status.

    The 2008 Willamette Valley bottling is top-rate - it is transparent and complete from the first whiff to the last sip. It's not only the best wine Matt has yet produced (certainly from the quality of the growing season) but it has just enough extra stuffing that its appeal will be far reaching (think 2005 Volnay versus something like 2004). Despite the excellent vintage, the wine still has only 12.5%-12.8% alcohol which forces it to rely on the purity of delicate fruit and notes of terroir - not on any form of enhancing intervention.

    All of this is well and good for the 750mls, but Matt has a little surprise for all of you - a special run of the 2008 Willamette Valley bottling in magnum only. This is one of his best barrels of non-reserve wine, set to be bottled especially for our customer base the day after Thanksgiving. For the price, I challenge anyone to find a Burgundian-styled 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir of higher quality in large format - period.

    ONE BOTTLING ONLY directly from the winery cellar with perfect provenance:

    2008 McKinlay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 1.5lt

    Thank you,

    Jon Rimmerman
    Seattle, WA


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