2016 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) by Panther Creek Cellars

Today’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Schindler Vineyard – Willamette Valley, OR) by Panther Creek Cellars, Woodinville, WA.

Rich ruby color. Out of the bottle, nose is a little shy with notes of damp slate, and a touch of ripe berries. Swirl vigorously to unlock bursts of sweet cherry, damp leather consistent with sedimentary soils, and a crisp caramel consistent with neutral oak so faint, you’d likely miss it.

Body is balanced right from the start. Light, bright but restrained acidity goes hand-in-hand with thin, crisp tannins reminiscent of dark cherry. This provides a measured amount of structure and good balance. Oak renders a silky mouth feel while minerality and fruit conspire to create dry, tart, slightly bitter cola-like essence upon the palate. This marks the transition to finish as the palate wrestles between dry and moist eventually ending dry with a subtle spicy tingle. Wet rock mineral essence permeates the entire experience. A subtle but notable star anise becomes more pronounced as it opens up over 1-2hrs.

Of their entire lineup of amazing Pinot Noir, I can see why this stood out the most – Terroir. It is terroir driven, front and center, start to finish. This is the mark of a great winemaker – a mere costodian of the grapes, allowing the vines to fully express themselves so intricately. At 100 cases, this is precisely the kind of wine I obsess over. I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the greater Seattle area.

Nicely done Panther Creek!

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