They say imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. I’m reminded of that old cliché every time a new-label of Oregon pinot noir is debuted. Yes, Willamette Valley’s pinot pioneers have indeed inspired many. Sometimes I do chance it and take home a bottle unknown and untested, and while this occasionally yields exciting results, more often than not I’m only poorer for the experience. So I must have been gun-shy a couple of weeks back when I bought this bottle of Adelsheim. You see, Adelsheim isn’t new or flashy or hip. It’s decidedly old school like a jazz standard that gets played again and again and again. Yet, somehow I never tire of listening to “Autumn Leaves” or “Love for Sale” regardless of how often they’re played. It seems that good wine, like good music, never loses its buoyancy.
Adelsheim’s 2004 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir showed a plum red in the glass with light to medium color concentration. Soft qualities of raspberry and cherry fruit were subtle beneath layers of light oak, forest-floor and truffle. While pure, bright fruit flavors were evident in both the wine’s nose and palate, this pinot will never be mistaken for a fruit-driven wine. It showcases wonderful earthy character with style (think morel and porcini mushrooms) and is far too nuanced to be defined by red and black fruit flavors alone. Yet, this Oregon pinot noir wasn’t “dirty” in any way. Far from it: it was pure and clean while remaining very interesting. Texturally, this pinot was silky, not plush nor full, but finely balanced with adequate weight, dusty tannins and a supple mouthfeel. Its drinker will be rewarded by a very long and satisfying finish.
Being elegant and deliciously subtle, Adelsheim Pinot Noir will appeal to the purist, and like an old Blue Note recording should provide pleasure for many years to come. Highly recommended!