Different Wines for Different Palates
One of our goals at City Wine Merchant is to get to know our customers well so that we can help find wines to suit individual palates. Everyone's tastes are different, and while we encourage everyone to discover and taste new wines, we know that our top priority is to recommend wines to people based on what we know they like. That typically means that, in any given wine category, we will make every effort to have a broad selection of different producers, regions and styles.
This week, I had the pleasure of meeting Stewart Boedecker, co-owner and winemaker of Oregon's Boedecker Cellars, who made our job a little easier in the Oregon Pinot Noir category. As we tasted through a few of Stewart's 2007 and 2008 Pinot Noirs at City Wine Merchant, Stewart explained the unique philosophy of two of his flagship cuvees - they each reflect the different palates of him and his wife, Athena, who is a co-owner and winemaker.
As he explained, The Stewart is red fruited, full of bright acidity, soft tannins and herbal aromatics created mainly from Wadenswil and Pommard. The essence of the Athena cuvee shows a black to blue fruit core, heartier tannins and spice, components redolent of the clones developed in Dijon.
For their cuvees, Boedecker works with some of Willamette's top Vineyards, including Shea and Momtazi. Stewart stressed that the climate, the vineyards and the clones all influence the distinctiveness of the wines, and that their goal is to allow those differences to unfold in the wines. For example, while the grapes are hand sorted in the vineyard, they once again sort them in the winery. They ferment in small lots, maintain each vineyard separately and monitor each lot by hand, by smell and by taste.
Once in barrel, the wines age for 18+ months. The barrels are all French oak, the wine is aged 9-10 months sur lie, on 30% new oak, the aged another 9-10 months off lees in all neutral barrels. In order to determine which barrel of wine will bear the name of Stewart or Athena, they blind taste through each barrel, as many as 40 barrels at a time.
It is rare for a producer to focus on making two distinct styles, but in this case the result is two delicious, unique wines that exhibit the terroir and character of different vineyards, barrels, and techniques. It is a great way to make wines that appeal to different palates, and a great way to keep things fun and interesting as a producer. When I asked him which one sold better, he had the diplomatic answer: they were tied!
If you are a fan of Pinot Noir, I encourage you to try both of these wines to decide for yourself which one better suits your palate. The Boedecker Cellars Pinot Noir Stewart 2008 (WS92) and Boedecker Cellars Pinot Noir Athena 2007 are both available for under $30! These are some of the best Pinot values we've seen out of Oregon to date!!