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Oregon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Oregon wine.


Witness Tree Estate Pinot Blanc 2006
Lightly herbal notes, with a background of pear and apple, just a hint of ginger. Rounds out the mouth, with quite a broad, juicy texture and still good acidity. Very fruity and rich. 87/100

Witness Tree Estate Viognier 2006
Nice aromatic expression of Viognier, with some little floral and honeysuckle notes, leading onto a palate that has quite oily texture, but not too thick. 87/100

Witness Tree Vintage Select Chardonnay 2006
This has around 50% new oak, and it certainly comes through on the nose as a note of coffee and charry vanillin. On the palate there is very nice, plump, sweet fruit, with a tang of something orange and nice citrus acidity. That acisity is perhaps a touch low acidity, and though delicious, perhaps could be a little crisper. 87/100

Witness Tree Estate Pinot Noir 2006
This cuvée accounts for 3,500 cases from the total of 5,000 cases of Pinot produced. Nice blend of glossy cherry fruit, with sweet vanilla and quite a warm, upfront fruitiness. The wine is ripe and full, and though low in acid, it is still well balanced, approachable and delicious. 88/100

Witness Tree Vintage Select Pinot Noir 2006
75% new oak. Deep, seductive, glossy cherry fruit. Dark and full-fruited, with little notes of cedar. The palate has breadth and silky texture, and finishes with lots of oomph. 89/100

Witness Tree Benchmark Pinot Noir 2005
From a “bench” of volcanic basalt soil, about 100 cases produced. Very nice, silky Pinot nose, with very distinctive, refined fruit, and a lovely fruit sweetness. The creamy, sweet oak fills in, and there is a touch of coffee darkness to the tannins. Very stylish. 91/100

Witness Tree Claim 51 Pinot Noir 2005
Very deep, creamy, quite earthy and a touch of forest floor. Very sweet fruit - blackberry and ripe Morello cherry - and good structure here, with a nice lemony acidity. 90/100

Witness Tree Hanson Pinot Noir 2006
Nice beetrooty Pinot quality, with light briar and touches The palate has a light, very bright and focused blackberry and dark cherry fruit. There is nice balance here, despite the riper fruit and I suspect, higher alcohol, with good balance. 90/100

Witness Tree Sweet Signé 2007
Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Viognier in equal proportions, picked into small baskets and deep frozen. Loaded into the press frozen, fermented to 8 or 9% alcohol with around 20% residual acidity. Little Muscat-like floral notes, with delicate ripe pear aromas. The palate has full, luscious sweetness. There is fine acidity and a lovely icewine style with great fruit purity. Only 120 cases. 90/100

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