I brought in a range of Oregon pinots in the second half of last year and they proved very popular. The Zena Crown Conifer sold out and the Slope, Sum and Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard were well received too.
I held off promoting the Penner-Ash “Estate” Pinot Noir as it didn’t have a rating at the same time as the others.
It does now, with 92 points from Wine Spectator (sorry, I don’t subscribe to their digital version so haven’t seen the actual words), 90 points from Decanter and 90 from James Suckling.
International ratings tend to be, shall we say, “less exuberant” than some of the Australian ones. Maybe that’s a good thing but they’re generally less entertaining too.
This wine sells for US$65 at cellar door (ie. S$85).
“What’s this then?” I hear you say. “What’s Tiger Wines doing selling Oregon Pinot Noir?”
Well, little did I know when I was driving north towards Portland in July 1992, that 25 years later I would be bringing into Singapore a top range of pinots from that very area.
To join the dots…
Tiger Wines is the approved Jackson Family Wines distributor for the high-end boutique wines from Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard in McLaren Vale. Hickinbotham was purchased by Jackson Family Wines of the US in 2012.
They’ve also been buying pinot vineyards in Oregon for a while now. Zena Crown was acquired in 2013 and Penner-Ash in 2016, and both are very highly regarded. For example, Zena Crown “Slope” Pinot Noir is on allocation in the US (I was allocated just 18 bottles) but as an approved Jackson Family Wines distributor, I have been given the opportunity to tap into a small selection of their high-end pinots from both Penner-Ash and Zena Crown range.
Life’s a journey, who could resist?
This wine, the 2015 Penner-Ash “Shea Vineyard” Pinot Noir comes from the Yamhill-Carlton AVA within the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
I tried this for the first time last week and there’s no doubting the difference between the Australian and New Zealand pinots. Initially thinking it lighter in style, it developed into quite a savoury and robust wine. My first reaction was more Yarra Valley, more Timo Mayer than say Mornington or Tasmania, and as fans of Timo’s wines, my wife and I both agreed – very enjoyable.
I have to say right up front that this is not my preferred style of pinot. There’s a common factor running through most of the rater’s notes – big, dense, powerful. Not characteristics that I seek out in pinots that I drink, but that’s a matter of personal preference.
There’s a huge amount of variance in the recommended drinking dates.
Lisa Perotti-Brown of robertparker.com recommends drinking “2012-2015+”, Huon Hooke says “2013-2020”, Halliday says “by 2020” and Jeremy Oliver says you shouldn’t even think about it until 2020, saying “2020-2028+”. I’ll have to leave it to you to make your own call.
This wine was released at A$70 but at some stage during its retail life, the price was lifted to A$90 which is where the current release pinot (2010) sits.