The mature complexity of the 2003 Brick House, Cuvee du Tonnelier, Pinot Noir
I recently found myself drinking wine from this century in the form of the 2003 Brick House, Cuvée du Tonnelier, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley. Despite its relative youth, this wine offered ample amounts of mature and complex flavors. Per the routine that Lou and I follow, I popped and poured this first bottle. The first sniff and taste revealed the need for some air but it was after two hours and near the end of the bottle, that it began to shine.
Brick House Vineyards was founded by Doug Tunnell who purchased an old orchard on Ribbon Ridge in 1989. According to John Winthrop Haeger in North American Pinot Noir (2004), the next year he planted just over ten acres of Pinot Noir under the guidance of Joel Meyers, former vineyard manager at Eyrie. Up until the 2002 harvest, Doug Tunnell sold fruit to the likes of Cameron, St. Innocent, and Archery Summit. Thus the bottle I tried was the first vintage where all of the fruit was kept in house. Doug Tunnell retained a fair amount of stems. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts at warm temperatures then aged for 14 months in 50% new French oak, used French oak from Beaux Freres, and some Oregon oak. The wine was fined with egg whites and not filtered.
All of this effort produced a wine that has developed incredibly well. In fact, I am confident I did not give enough air for the bottle to truly shine. I guess I will just have to determine what this wine is capable of with my next bottle! Surely one of my best purchases at the $15 price point. This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2003 Brick House, Cuvée du Tonnelier, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley – $15
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from a ten acre block of Pommard clone planted in 1990. Alcohol 14%. The good nose was immediately complex. In the mouth this mature wine had firm, good fruit that was delivered with plenty of strength. The wine combined ripe blue fruit with citric freshness, citric tannins, and a mature aftertaste. With air the wine really came together, developing juicy fruit, wood box flavors, and cinnamon like baking spices. There is good structure for continued development. ***(*) Now-2020.