Quiet Power & Elegance: Rex Hill Pinot Noir

rex hill

Sustainable farming: this little ladybug keeps pests away without using chemical pesticides.

I love family-owned wineries. That’s a broad statement, but I’m not afraid to make it. It seems that every sip of their wine speaks to me of   commitment, passion, and a love for wine-making.

Enter Rex Hill, a family-owned winery that’s been crafting wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley since the “good old days” (read “1982,” when the first owners shoveled out a former pig farm and started planting Pinot Noir). They also started farming “sustainably”, which is a commitment to produce better fruit through organic growing practices and to leave the land in better shape than when they got it.

Organic and sustainable practices may have contributed to the really knock-out Pinot I tasted recently, but Oregon’s wonderful 2008 vintage put it over the top. Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008 was the product of the “near perfect” 2008 harvest. Warm weather in the final weeks before picking contributed to smaller yields and more intense flavors in the grapes. The result is a fragrant nose of bing cheeries, raspberries and violets, and a rich palate brimming with intense red berry fruit and spice. Most noticeable, though, is the full body, well-integrated tannins and bright acid that balance the opulent fruit.

To me, this Pinot was like Oregon on steroids. I’ve never tasted this kind of elegance and power in a Willamette Pinot at this price. Did I mention it retails for around $26? It’s a steal at that price, and you should rush out and…steal some. (Well, not really, but do go buy some).

I’ll be on the look-out for more good 2008 Oregon Pinot’s, so stay tuned for future reviews. For now, grill up some salmon, pop the cork on a bottle of Rex Hill, and enjoy!

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