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I spent Thursday evening in D.C. and had dinner with colleagues at The Caucus Room.  One of my dinner mates was a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir – so we settled on a Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir as our starter wine for the evening to pair with appetizers. 

Although the normal going rate for a bottle of this particular wine is about $20, we were able to pay $80 per bottle to contribute to The Caucus Room wine markup fund.  And, since we bought two bottles, this 4x markup was even more awesome!  Despite the fact that we really overpaid for this wine, the conclusion by everyone at the table was that we all liked this wine.

Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Fermented Pinot Noir 2007

This is on the low end of the Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot offerings.  Stainless steel fermented.  13% alcohol.  This is a very ‘friendly’ wine – the fruit was very fresh and vibrant.  I felt like I was drinking a fruit juice of freshly picked berries – close to a Strawberry Caprisun drink from back in the day.  The nose was full of raspberries and strawberries with slight hints of earth.  Great mouth feel with more strawberries and some ripe cherries and spice on the finish.  I would have liked stronger tannins (perhaps some time in oak).         

An interesting factoid… Willamette Valley Vineyards uses corks certified by the Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards.   

“Cork stoppers that come from responsibly managed forestlands are the only choice for wineries that want to have a positive environmental and social impact,” said Jamie Lawrence, European Forestry Division Manager for the Rainforest Alliance. “Willamette’s commitment to supporting responsible cork production in rural communities in the Mediterranean is commendable and progressive, fitting of a world-class winery that focuses on making sustainable choices.”

The Rainforest Alliance was responsible for awarding FSC certification at each step throughout the process, beginning with certifying the worlds first cork forest in 2005, later certifying the cork manufacturing facilities, owned by the Amorim Group, and now certifying Willamette Valley Vineyards to help achieve this global first in the wine industry.