This special wine was developed years ago by our 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 the original vintage label design.
On the Nose: A wine as equally rich in history, opens with inviting notes of plum, currant, dark chocolate, caramel and anise.
On the Palate: The balance of sweetness and acidity creates a beautiful viscous sip full of dark fruit, toffee, cherry cordial and holiday spice all concluding with a silky smooth finish.
Food Pairings: Enjoy with Rogue Creamery blue cheese with cherry compote, baked brie with figs and walnuts, flourless chocolate cake, pumpkin pie and with the company of a crackling fire.
Peak drinkability: 2021 - 2031
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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