SOLD OUT! Words do not sum up how good the 2016 Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir is. I was a big fan of the 2015 vintage of this wine, but I like the 2016 even more.
And so did Wine Spectator and James Suckling, as they both rated this one 93 points. I’ve got 10 cases arriving this Thursday, and I’m offering it up at the best price in the country.
2016 Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir
93 points Wine Spectator, 93 points James Suckling
I call the Bethel Heights style of Pinot Noir ‘Oregon to the core,’ and I’ve grown to love it. If you want to experience the grandeur of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, this is a great place to start. There’s that classic Oregon earth and spice profile, but there’s also lots of beautiful, perfectly ripened fruit.
Complex is another great word to describe this wine. There’s a lot of contrasting parts at play here. Wine Spectator writes: “Silky and vibrant, with spirited raspberry and violet aromas that open to effortlessly complex flavors of black cherry, black tea, cardamom and other dark spices. Drink now through 2024.” What impresses me most here is the balance of glorious fruit and savory spice.
Since 1977, Bethel Heights has thrived in the Eola-Amity Hills section of the Willamette Valley. Ted Casteel and friends put their first vines down between 1977 and 1979. As Casteel puts it, this “was before the discovery of phylloxera in Oregon, so we just stuck un-rooted cuttings in the ground and let them make their own roots in place.” Forty years on, these are some of the last own-rooted Pinot Noir vines surviving anywhere in the world, still going strong and producing some of the finest wines of their entire career.
This wine truly encompasses the entire breadth of expression at Bethel Heights. It blends fruit from all the different sections of their estate vineyard, really allowing the vineyard and the Bethel Heights style to ‘speak.’ You get the youthful exuberance of their youngest vines planted in 2002 combined with the brooding, earthy complexity of their old, own-rooted vines to create a symphony of flavors.
And finally, it’s worth noting that the 2016 Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir outscored a number of others that sell for 2 to 3 times the price. It scored 1 point higher than Argyle’s $40 Reserve Pinot Noir, 2 points higher than Bergstrom’s $65 Gregory Ranch Pinot Noir, and 4 points higher than Archery Summit’s $75 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir.
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