Walter Scott is Coming Into Its Own
Oregon has been producing wine since about 1847, and the boundaries of the Willamette Valley AVA were established back in 1984. At that time, it was not a well-known area for wine production. However, in 2005, six sub-region AVAs were created within the northern area of the valley: Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton District and the region’s wines began to gain critical acclaim. In our opinion, they now offer some of the best-value Pinot Noirs in the world.
Roughly 70% of Oregon’s wineries are located in Willamette Valley, so we owed it to ourselves to make a trip. One of the highlights of our viticulture tour of the Willamette Valley was Walter Scott. Walter Scott began in 2008, the husband/wife business partners have a cute “how they got together” story, now they have an adorable daughter, a growing winery and some delicious wines. They no longer have to trade labor for space. They now have a nice setup, one employee and produce about 5,000 cases per year. Walter Scott wines are distributed in nine US markets (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New York/New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Virginia/DC)
Erica Landon, Partner, and General Manager gave us a tour and she was awesome! She shared some interesting stories of the development of this wine region, their winery and some of their winemaking secrets. She really knows her stuff!
About 90% of Walter Scott’s fruit currently comes from the Eola-Amity Hills area. The Van Duzer Corridor brings in Pacific Ocean air, and two hours after sunset the temperature can drop as much as 40 degrees! That, combined with strong winds, cause denser skins and stronger tannins. The terroir is mostly volcanic clay - less than 5 ft of topsoil them boom, rock.
By the way, the above Willamette Valley Vineyard Map (72” x 32”) with detail down to the vineyard blocks, is available for purchase at willamettewines.com for $115.
Walter Scott currently produces eight Pinots and five Chardonnays. Since several of their wines were completely sold out, Erica blended us samples right from the barrels, and they were terrific!
As a Chardonnay lover, I was happy to hear they will be focusing more on Chardonnays in the future. Erica says, “From all accounts, 2017 is turning out to be magic! With a warm, dry summer becoming a cool fall, the fruit is incredible and abundant!!...as we look down the sorting line, we are so impressed by the quality of the fruit across the board.”
We purchased these wines to take home with us.
But we couldn’t resist and broke into them before our trip was over.
They offer tastings by appointment only. To book yours contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell them He and She on Wine sent you!
They are sold out of almost all of their 2015 vintage wines. They ship to most states in the spring and the fall. Here are their current offerings, along with a few of my notes:
2015 Pinot Noir, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley $50 (325 cases)
2016 Pinot Noir, Sequitur Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge $55 (75 cases): Classic, ancient concrete, very dusty, supple.
2016 Pinot Noir, Temperance Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley, $55 (125 cases): Super high elevation above Bethel Heights. Block is 26 years old. Super exposed boulders, crazy gusts of wind on the ridge. Very dense skin and pink fruit pop. These take a week longer to ripen because they are on the ridge.
2016 Pinot Noir, Seven Springs Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills $65 (225 cases): Planted in the early '80s, 5 different clones. Brighter acidity from volcanic soils, sweet herbal notes.
2016 Pinot Noir, Dubay Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills $55 (75 cases): Most dramatic area geologically. Ocean sediment, SO steep they have to use tractors with tanks in the tires to get up the hill. Multiple Dijon vines. Very small production.
2015 Pinot Noir, Sojourner Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills $50 (300 cases)
2016 Pinot Noir, Sojourner Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills $55 (450 cases): Rocky area with large boulders. 3 different clones. Very unique and very aromatic.
2016 Pinot Noir, La Combe Vert, Willamette Valley $28 (1380 cases): This is a great value!
2016 Pinot Noir, Cuvee Ruth, Eola-Amity Hills $40 (350 cases)
2016 Chardonnay, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley $55 (165 cases): 30 - 40 % new wood, French oak, like the tighter pores in the barrels.
2016 Chardonnay, X Novo Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills $65 (275 cases)