Owners Carl And Marilynn Thoma
In his youth he learned to love agriculture from his family’s cattle ranch in California. In his adulthood, Carl got his degree in agricultural economic in Oklahoma and became a equity fund manager. Marilynn got her B.S. degree as well in Oklahoma and a MBA at Stanford.
A love of the land drew the Thomas to establish Van Duzer Vineyards on a panoramic knoll in the Willamette Valley. Their firm belief in the corridor’s unique microclimate and its influence on the production or premium Oregon Pinot Noir remains strong after 17 harvests. Expanding acreage and the program of wines, they continue to insist on thoughtfully chosen root stocks and clones in the vineyard, advanced equipment for the winery and an adherence to a consistent winemaking philosophy. Marilynn handles the marketing from her experience at Quaker Oats and Cellular Network
2014 Van Duzer Witness Blocks Pinot Noir
2014 was a pretty warm vintage but this estate vineyard benefits from getting cool winds as it is located nestled in the Van Duzer corridor. End of August to avoid dehydration they had to irrigate and irrigate and were able to harvest at optimal ripeness from Sept 23rd-October 6th and the wine came in at 13.5% ABV.
This wine is a tribute to the Greek Goddess Zephyra, the Goddess of the wind as this vineyard site once again benefits from the strong winds from the Van Duzer corridor. Fruit from this section of their estate comes in with thicker skin than the average pinot noir which provides darker color, and bigger tannins. For this wine they pick the best of the best barrels and the 100% Pinot is comprised of 5 different Clones: 30% each of the Dijon clones 777 (My Fave) and 113. 20% Wadenswil. 15% Pommard and 5% Flower. The wine is aged 15 months in French Oak 46% new for optimal complexity and aging. Let’s review!
This wine was gifted to me 2 years ago for my birthday by my wine supervisor Paul as he knows my love for Oregon Pinots. I should have known that winemaker Florent Merlier was from Burgundy, France and learned in Burgundy as this is as close to Burgundy that you will get out of Oregon. Deep, dark ruby red, darker than most from Oregon. The aromatics after a solid hour of aeration bring on wild strawberries, bright red cherry, lots of Twizzler action and mint with black pepper spices. The French Oak is perfection. On the palate entry it’s a richer mouthfeel for a wine with 13.5% and the juicy but silky textured medium plus bodied wine goes straight to the strong mid-palate of cherry cola, wild red berries and plum headed straight to the back of Cinnamon Graham Cracker cookies with strong but integrated tannins and a spicy, long finish. PLEASE OREGON….STOP SEDUCING ME LIKE THIS LOL. I, as a sommelier have to taste wine from all over the world and each time, I try to break free of Oregon Wines and take a hiatus, I get drawn into a Burgundian Style, elegant Pinot Noir like this. Wine Spectator, I respectfully disagree with your 89 point score. This is a 94 point Pinot Noir that I would love to have with rack of lamb, med rare, wild salmon and mushrooms, duck breast or at a full blown Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s stunning!!! Ok the only bad news is, I got it as a GIFT but like a woman who gets a diamond engagement ring checking out the price… and the wine sells at the winery for $60. That’s a bit steep but at this quality you certainly are not going to find a Burgundy and forget California and the Sugar as good as this for $50-60. So the QPR is there.
This 2014 Pinot had at least another 10 if not more years left to go based on the acidity, lower alcohol and the bigger tannins still present in the wine. It was a pure treat to drink this wine. This is not everyday priced wine but it is great to have a few bottles like this hanging around in your wine fridge for when you want to treat yourself. I hadn’t had a wine from Van Duzer in many years and Florent didn’t start till 2010 so if I were Tom and Marilynn I wouldn’ let your winemaker ever leave. Offer him a pension and good insurance haha. Seek this wine out on the internet or their current vintages for aging as Van Duzer is a Doozy of an Oregon Winery!!
Grape-fully yours, Larry
Green Belt In Karate, Black Belt Pinot Noir
Winemaker Florent Pierre Merlier