Oregon Uncorked: 2009 Retour Manifest Destiny Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

“There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be...” 
― John Lennon

If you're not familiar with the Carlton Winemakers Studio, you should be, it acts an incubator of sorts for up and coming new winemaking talent and labels you'll want to keep your eye on. Also, you have access to a variety of one of a kind productions, small lot stuff, etc. that you simply will not see in the local grocery store, wine shop or restaurant. We stop there, nearly every time we're in the area, and now that we're only three hours away, we stop by much more often.

It just so happened that Mrs. Cuvee and I were in the Carlton Winemakers Studio (CWS) tasting room in November of 2013, discussing which wines we might like to purchase of those tasted, before leaving for our next tasting appointment. Being in the right place at the right time is an excellent advantage, this day, at this time, the wine gods were with us. As we were considering our options, a gentleman, Jeff Woodard, her brother, and wine veteran, and to us an unassuming gentleman at the tasting bar. But he recommended that we wait a bit as his winemaking sister Lindsay Woodard was on the way with her own wine, so we thought, hmm, this could be interesting, and we weren't in any hurry.

Once she arrived, we offered to help bring in what I think amounted to just about nine cases, but we were waved off. You wouldn't want a winebar customer to unexpectantly drop a case of the precious cargo. Now I'm pretty sure there is more at the winery, but if you're reading this now, don’t be hesitant about grabbing some for yourself via their website. Sadly that vintage is long gone, and fast forwarding more than five years, the current Manifest Destiny is their 2013 selling for just about 'Jackson' more than it did back then.

A bottle was quickly opened, and Mrs.Cuvée and I chatted with Lindsay a moment, while the glasses were being poured. After a few swishes and me spitting, I was thinking "wow this going to be good," but having not been bottled too long ago, it was a bit stiff and not ready for prime time. At this point, I was not jumping up and down with excitement, but something told me, that I better grab a couple, and I'm so glad I listened to my gut. After scoring two (extremely limited) bottles of the “Inaugural Release” of the Manifest Destiny label, we left there with a big smile on our face.  

Now having safely transported the two bottles home and nicely tucked away in the cellar for just over a month now, the Mrs. and I uncorked a bottle the other night. I probably should have waited longer to open it, but my curiosity got the best of me. We paired this alongside a small slab of glazed [wild-caught] Sockeye Salmon, grilled, and tasty mushroom risotto, infused with tiny bits of smoked bacon, oh my.

Wowsers, (a technical term I use to describe wines I really like) this is superb (ah-mazing) Oregon Pinot Noir. The depth, rich earth, the pleasing bright cranberry, dark cherry, and dusty baking spices aromas widened both our eyes as we both went in for the first slurp. In the body of this wine are a terrific core of energetic fruit, complexity, well-honed minerality, integrated tannins and a beautiful long and caressing finish. We were definitely pleased with this wines overall profile, the acid to fruit ratio was spot on, balance and elegance in spades. It was interesting to note that this wine and many of their other selections are sourced from mature vineyards, some 45 or more years old

Like a bang, bang play in the national pastime this Pinot Noir was firing on all cylinders, showing off the caliber of what Oregon Pinot has to offer average vino-sapiens from small production lots, not made by corporate wine behemoths. This bottle was produced with assistance from consulting winemaker Eric Hamacher, who has his own superstar label the Willamette Valley. These are the kind of souvenirs I like to bring back from wine country exploration trips, I'm so glad I waited patiently for the opportunity to sample this wine. Well done, Lindsay, well done. What a great showing on your inaugural release, two thumbs all the way up and the awarding of 95 stellar points.

In my opinion, this wine will put Manifest Destiny on the map of great Orgundian wines which need to be collected, cellared and properly consumed. Btw, my hunch back then (2013) was 100% correct, yes, I'm taking a bow, plus a curtain call. Actually, though it should be both Lindsay and her brother taking the bow, these kinds of accolades don't just fall into your lap, cheers to their continued success.
"One of the most important labels in Oregon... Star Producer” (Food & Wine),“Editors' Choice” (Wine Enthusiast) and “An Iconic Winery” (PDWR). Harvey Steiman, Editor-In-Chief of Wine Spectator declared Retour as“The Cutting Edge: One of The Top Producers” and claims the results are “impressive”. Forbes also named Retour as “One of the coolest wine labels in the world."
Back then this wine sold in the CWS for $45, and if you get six, there’s incentive for 15% worth of savings, plus no sales tax as a bonus. Until next time folks remember life is short, compromise is for relationships, continue to sip long and prosper cheers!


Joe No Smoe said…
Your hubris knows no bounds, but your insights are right on point, rock on!
Anonymous said…
Wow, I love Oregon Pinot Noir, thanks for sharing this article.
Will Eyer said…
Hi Al Nonymous, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, no matter how brief. Feel free to grab a subscription via email.

Will Eyer said…
Hey Joe, Thanks for the pithy comment, much-appreciated cheers!

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