1998 Corral Creek Vineyards Chehalem Pinot Noir : Wonderful!

march 14, 2010: we had victoria's parents over for dinner tonight. tonight we decided to prepare two roasted chickens. the first was primarily rosemary and bay leaf via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/perfect-roast-chicken-recipe/index.html. the second was topped with a half-pound of bacon and stuffed with lemons, thyme and garlic via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-and-garlic-roast-chicken-recipe/index.html. (we all thought emeril's recipe was much more full-flavored, though ina garten's recipe had its own positive subtleties.)

now to the origin of these wines, or rather, how we were able to get our hands on such rare bottles. we were able to open these two wines due to somewhat convoluted circumstances. alan bought these two rare small-vineyard chahalem pinot noir from his old friend pete lowery and pete's brother, sam. pete's wife was at one time victoria's au pair in oregon (when victoria was about 2 years old). pete and helene le dantec live outside paris now, but they met in portland, and alan and marie-paule have kept in touch with them ever since (that means for more than 30 years). we thank pete and sam so much for letting us try these!

anyway, onto the wine experience. we all agreed the 1998 was fantastic. alan said it had a nose of dried fruit, with slight alcohol vapors, though it wasn't overpowering. he said the flavor was somewhat blackberry. he thought this pinot had entered the tertiary stage, so the nose was more in the bouquet phase. the interesting thing to him was that this was a delicious wine right out of the bottle -- round, smooth and had excellent extraction.

victoria said this was a gentle, graceful and well-balanced wine. the nose was subdued, as was the flavor, which was blackberry. the flavor began sweet then flowed easily into slight acidity before ending tannic. this was a wine that was greater than the sum of its parts.

greg said he really enjoyed this wine. he said it had a blackberry flavor, with minor tannins that made it dry toward the end.

marie-paule enjoyed the wine but said she'd rather not comment.

14.5 percent alcohol. purchased from pete and sam lowery.

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