Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 Review


I thought it would be fun to review an Oregon Pinot Noir, doing some things differently. It’s actually one of the things that people do complain about in regard to Oregon Pinot Noir, they don’t see dramatic differences between winemaking styles, since so much is focused on a single varietal, from a single region.  Here’s my Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 Review.

Video Transcription:

Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 Front LabelHi guys, Mark Aselstine, with Uncorked Ventures. I’m joined today by … I’ll hold this up so you get a good look at it. This is an Elouan Oregon Pinot. This is my Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 Review.

And this is interesting on two levels. First, Elouan, this caught my eye, because it says “vinted and bottled by Elouan in,” and I’ll hold that up so you can see the bottom of it. “St. Helena, California.” That’s not something you see every day. An Oregon wine, made in St. Helena. And St. Helena, if you’re not familiar, is a small town in the northern section of Napa.

How do Oregon grapes end up in Napa Valley for an Oregon Winery? This is kind of the wave of the future. Napa has very strict rules about what can be made, and what can be put on labels for Napa. And they have a certain percentage of grapes from Napa. And often times, people have always, you know, done, you know, fruit from cheaper sections of the world to create that other percentage, and give themselves a lower price point of entry.

But, I think, increasingly, you’re going to see Napa folks who are incredibly interested in Oregon, especially Oregon Pinot. And they’re also going to be interested in Washington fruit. I think this is going to be not the first time that you see this, but just the first of very, very many.

The facilities in Napa are absolute top-notch. Probably better than anywhere else in the world. And so bringing fruit in from other regions, just makes too much sense for it not to happen more consistently. The wine itself is interesting on two levels. First, when you open the bottle, you kind of notice, and take it in for a second, and then the first thing that kind of struck me was that this seemed bigger than most Oregon Pinot.

The thing that most people don’t realize about Oregon, is that we think of wine country as small regions. And the one valley is fairly small, as far as geographic scale, but it does include Portland, and most of Portland’s major suburbs, if not all. About 80% of Oregon’s population does live in Willamette Valley. And an even higher percentage of Oregon’s wine is made in the Willamette Valley, or from grapes from the Willamette Valley.

This is a little bit different, because it is a blend from the Willamette, and then two other warmer sections of the state, including the Rouge River Area, which is southern Oregon, kind of along the California border. And that’s where they focus on run varietals and Syrah, and that kind of stuff.

It gives this wine a little bit more heft to it. It seems almost more Californian in style, if I dare say so myself. I thought that was interesting. Those were kind of the two interesting things about Elouan’s Pinot. First the fact that it’s made in California, is pretty darn different. And then second, you don’t see Oregon folks often blending different vineyard locations within the state. Inside and outside of the Willamette, and that happened here. I think you’ll probably see more of that as time goes on as well.

And then lastly, 2015 Oregon. You know, Oregon’s had a string of these good vintages. Really, Oregon is a spot where you have to worry a little bit about, does everything get ripe. And in a warm vintage like ’14 and ’15 where, everything gets ripe, and the wine makers will joke that you could’ve not known what you were doing, and make pretty good wine.

For a kind of more entry level price point bottle, not that these guys don’t know what they’re doing, but if you’re paying $215 bucks a bottle, it’s nice to know that the fruit that came in was probably a higher quality than they might have been expecting.

Once again, Mark Aselstine, with Uncorked Ventures. Elouan obviously is not coming in a Wine of the Month Club shipment. This was picked up locally, just because I found it interesting. But I do think some of this stuff, when people are doing things differently in the wine industry, it’s worth it for us to take note. I think we need more people doing stuff more differently than we do currently. Once again, hope everybody’s having a good week. Wine Club shipment’s coming shortly and I hope you’ve enjoyed this Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 Review.


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