Rating 95

 

No. 1

Archery Summit Winery
2006 Pinot Noir
‘Red Hills Estate’
Dundee Hills
$85, 9-10 years

Crafted by the talented 39-year-old winemaker Anna Matzinger (pictured below), this wine embodies the phrase “a steel fist in a velvet glove.” Remarkably balanced for a high-alcohol wine, it possesses tart cherry flavors, mouthwatering tannins, and a power restrained by elegance. Matzinger took big risks that paid off with a grip that is almost gritty with extra palate weight.

Founding owner Gary Andrus (who passed away early this year after a long illness) spared no expense on Archery Summit’s facilities, mixing new technologies with old-world values, from experimental fermentation vats to deeply excavated underground barrel caves. Matzinger, a Boise native and Evergreen College graduate who learned winemaking in New Zealand and Australia before starting at Archery Summit as an intern 10 years ago, has taken advantage of every opportunity she’s been given. To her, the most critical ingredients are hardly cutting-edge: the vineyard’s south-facing slope; the Willamette Valley’s volcanic soil, known as “Jory”; pruning the vines by as much as one-half to maximize the flavor in the remaining fruit; and using only the natural yeast that arrives on the grapes instead of commercially produced cultured yeasts. Of the five vineyards managed by Archery Summit, Matzinger says that Red Hills Estate “has always been my favorite—a little secret.”

Rating 93

 

No. 2

1789
2007 Pinot Noir
Chehalem Mountains
$48, 7–9 years

Supple textures, bright red-cherry scents, powerfully fruity yet restrained. Made by Isabelle Dutartre, perhaps Oregon’s least-known top-echelon winemaker. A French native (note the wine’s French Revolutionary name), Dutartre shuttles between the Willamette Valley and Burgundy, working for some of the best winemakers in each. This is her first wine under her own label, and it has a finesse to match her talent and experience.