Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stag Hollow 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir

This Yamhill-Carlton winery describes themselves as "Old World-styled vineyard...producing very intense, rich wine." The latter part of that statement is the important one. The wines are flashy, deep and dense and I was immediately intrigued by them a decade ago when I moved to Oregon. While the wines are forward and immediately appealing, they are not simple and I wondered how they might age. It was time to open this bottle and see what it had become.
Although the cork fell apart while opening the bottle and the cork had leaked a bit (my fault on both counts) the wine was in great shape and showed amazing color.
The strong red core of red color stayed consistent with very little browning at the edge. I am still amazed by this based on their, in my words, extracted style. It was not as purple as it had once been but it shouldn't be after ten years. The nose was 'briary': full of dark, wild, ripe berries. A tiny hint of mushroom appeared but not much in the way of earth notes at all. There were clearly some tertiary (not fruit, not wood) flavors from the age but I had trouble pinning them down. The finish was huge, dense and long. Impressive and amazing was all I could add at the time. This was not a 'big' vintage like 2006 but it was a good one.
Miss Wright said it reminded her of blood and pepper. Some smokiness emerged with time and eventually it took on a slightly port-like finish. Not sugar sweet like port but similar in that it had the jammy fruit and thickness...and some age. Prunes, dried apricots, blackberry and that indescribable character that I can only describe as 'brick,' in lots of older wines. The port reference was no doubt exacerbated by the perception of higher alcohol as the night wore on. It was never hot but became more and more noticeable despite the listed 13.7%. It could also be that the pork chops were gone by then.
The wine was worth cellaring and I remain a bit awestruck by the ability to age when so much unbridled excitement shows immediately upon release. Bravo to Stag Hollow...I wish I had more.

Learn more about the wines at their website,
You can also order their wines (but not the 2005 Reserve) here -