The whole story of the evolution of Seven Springs Vineyard over the last four decades has been a varied and interesting one reaching back to the ‘formative years’ of Oregon Pinot Noir. But under the winemaking team of Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr, it may be that the best times are still ahead for Evening Land. Certainly the wines under the primary label continue to get critical acclaim, and they are at the forefront of the ‘hey we make pretty darn good Chardonnay in Oregon these days’ movement as well. Certainly their credentials are in order. But this time around we are talking about a relatively new offering that provides a classic demonstration of why we pay a lot of attention to the ‘small’ wines from important producers.
The Salem Wine Company Pinot Noir Eola-Amity 2017 is a more attractively priced version of what these guys do regularly, produce Pinot Noirs that are pure, fruit driven, unfettered and expressive. The ‘Eola-Amity’ comes from three vineyards that are dry-farmed, sustainable and bio-dynamic…Eola Springs, Rocky Hill and the ‘home turf’ itself, Seven Springs Vineyard. The soils are all volcanic. The grapes are destemmed, fermented only with the indigenous yeasts, and the juice sees an 18-month sojourn in neutral oak.
This doesn’t come off as a ‘junior’ version but rather a more direct expression of the pure, intense, spicy dark red fruit character that makes this vineyard a special place. There plenty of fruit intensity, nice lift to the finish, and engaging cherry and dark berry flavors as the central theme. This isn’t geared as a Cabernet substitute, but rather a well proportioned Pinot made by guys who love Pinot and its Burgundian manifestations, for people of like minds. In that respect it succeeds admirably, attractive right out of the gate and pretty accessible price-wise at $22.98.
If you need critical acclaim, we couldn’t find any. This stuff is pretty new to the market (starting with the 2014) and will likely never get a huge score because it will usually be tasted by the press alongside the bigger, fussier, more famous bottlings that come from here. If, however, you are looking for an expressive, user friendly, purposeful expression of Pinot Noir, the Salem Wine Company Pinot Noir Eola-Amity 2017 will do quite nicely.