2008 Estate Pinot Noir Tasting Notes


Growing Conditions

I’m sure you're familiar with the adage “don’t believe everything you read in the papers.” Certainly this was true with regard to the Oregon Pinot Noir wines produced in 2007. (Despite the bad press, the 2007 Carlton Hill Pinot Noirs are simply stellar.) They did, however, get it right when reporting on the virtues of the 2008 vintage in Oregon. In many circles, 2008 now ranks as the finest vintage in Oregon’s grape-growing history. While the summer switch did not turn on until late June, we had a near perfect growing season--warm, dry days and cool nights, lasting through till the end of October.

Winemaking Process

We harvested on October 12 and 13th, and both the 777 and 115 clone blocks yielded between 1.5 and 2 tons to the acre. We reached sugars of 23.5 brix, and a near perfect must PH of 3.28. After a 5-day cold soak and a 15-day indigenous ferment, the vintage was in barrel by the end of the first week in November to be aged for 11 months in 25% new French oak barrels.

Our job from this point forward was to not screw things up. I think we succeeded!

After tasting in barrel just prior to bottling, I recall skipping out of the winery with visions of a wine drinking like a juicy raspberry/blackberry pie with cinnamon and spice dashed on top. When put into bottle, however, the wine went into hibernation. It seems our Carlton Hill Vineyard is producing wine that takes more and more time to show its colors. The complexity of the wines is also growing, due in part to the age of our vines and our whole cluster ferments which, for this vintage, represented approximately 25% of the juice.

In My Humble Opinion

Ten months after bottling, this wine is just now revealing the expansive range of fruit and spice I had experienced in the cellar. Consequently, I held off writing these notes until the story line became clear. And here it is. True to this remarkable vineyard, the 2008 Carlton Hill Estate Pinot Noir again achieves a near seamless balance of ripe tannins and acidity. Aromatically, raspberry, rose and wood smoke aromas are prevalent. In contrast to the 07 vintage, the berry flavors from this vintage--which currently range anywhere from black raspberry to violet and cherry--are more forward and expressive. The wine is ripe and round, with generous body and a lingering, spicy finish. Silky and delicate on the palate, the 2008 Carlton Hill Pinot Noir will live up the accolades of this great vintage.

440 cases of this wine are available for sale.

Buy the 2008 Carlton Hill Estate Pinot Noir

Full Case…$480       Half Case…$245     Bottle…$45


David C. Polite

Carlton Hill Wine Company