This special wine was developed years ago by the late winemaker, Forrest Klaffke. Founder Jim Bernau loved to end his winery tours with a tasting of this wine from the barrel, but Forrest complained that he was giving away too much of this precious, limited-production wine. In an attempt to deter Jim, Forrest locked the Pinot Noir Port barrels away and wore the key around his neck. The day before his passing, he gave the key to Jim. Since then, we have continued to make this wine according to Forrest's methods and bottle it with original vintage label design.
On the Nose: A wine as equally rich in history, opens with inviting notes of caramel, toffee, five-spice, sultana and chocolate covered cherries.
On the Palate: On the palate, the balance of sweetness and acidity creates a beautifully harmonious and viscous sip with flavors of amaretto, dark fruit, cocoa and holiday spice all concluding with a velvety, long finish.
Food Pairings: Enjoy with dark chocolate with sea salt, savory cheeses like Rogue Creamery blue cheese and baked brie, toffee and brittles or as an after dinner drink close to a crackling fire.
Peak Drinkability: 2020-2030
Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Vineyard in the Salem Hills
Willamette Valley AVA
In 1983, with the encouragement from winemakers making their move from California, Jim cleared an old pioneer plum orchard in the Salem Hills, hidden underneath scotch broom and blackberry vines to plant Pinot Noir. Unable to afford drip irrigation, he watered the vines by hand using 17 lengths of 75’ garden hose to get the grapelings through their first summer.
The vineyard site rises from 500-750 feet in elevation with seven to twelve degree slopes tilted toward the sun. As a result, the vines get excellent air drainage and are above the frost line. At this elevation and slope, the temperature is approximately 10 degrees cooler than the valley floor during the day.
The Estate Vineyard has a total of 67 acres of vines planted, with the first Dijon clones grafted in 1993. It is primarily planted with Pinot Noir Dijon clones 667, 777, Pommard and Wädenswil. Additionally, a portion is planted in Pinot Gris and Dijon Clone Chardonnay 76 and 96.
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