Classico Pinot Noir 2016
As one of the major wine publications once wrote, “All Oregon Pinot Noirs are measured against the Ponzi yardstick”. That has been true for nearly 5 decades, and Classico specifically represents the “classic” quality and style of Oregon and American Pinot Noir, benchmarks very much defined by the Ponzis. As a wine, Classico is meant to encapsulate the Willamette Valley at its best. Around 7-8 of the Ponzi’s vineyard parcels are complemented by a select few top neighboring sites to introduce additional soil types and exposures. All vineyards are at elevation and typically planted with older vines, and all either LIVE or organically certified.
Ponzi Vineyards is strictly committed to respecting the integrity of each vineyard, enhancing and maintaining their individual characteristics. The artistry and signature of Classico is in the blending of distinct cuvées from these vineyards. All Ponzi-owned vineyards are site-selected, hand-planted and managed by the family and their vineyard manager. The Northern Willamette Valley provides a moderate climate, soils and sites ideal for the culture of noble cool climate wine varietals. The different sites express distinctive territory and micro-climates. These differences, combined with knowledgeable varietal and clonal selections, are the determinants of the overall expression of varietal flavors, character and ultimate wine structure.
All of the fruit was hand sorted and destemmed. Fermented in small lots with five days of cold soak to increase aroma and color, the peak temperatures reached 90°F. The fermenters were aerated or manually punched down twice a day (for 12-20 days) before lightly pressing at dryness. This wine was aged in French oak barrels (26% new) for 11 months. It was racked and bottled by gravity without filtration or fining and was aged in bottle for 5 months before release.
For the last three years Ponzi has been defining the new normal with early vintages in the Willamette Valley. 2016 jumped out of the gate with bud break a full 3 weeks earlier than customary. Flowering was condensed by a heat spell and an early summer gave beautiful warm temperatures until August when it heated up. Harvest arrived later that month and was in full swing by early September. All fruit was in the door by the first part of October. Fruit quality was immaculate with absolutely no disease pressure. Fruit set was small due to the short flowering time. Berry size was also small resulting in lower yields and gorgeously intense fruit. I would liken 2016 to the 2006 vintage where we saw lush, beautiful wines with unexpected elegance and acidity, but in achingly short supply. Truly, a stellar vintage for Oregon.
“Aromas of ripe raspberry and black cherry are accentuated by crushed Mediterranean herbs of lavender, sage, rosemary and black tea. On the palate, dusty tannins are woven into hints of roasted coffee. Mouthwatering acidity is balanced by almond sweetness.”
-Luisa Ponzi, Winemaker
Coq au vin. This Burgundian dish is almost synonymous with Pinot Noir! Chicken is simmered with mushrooms, red wine, lardons (bits of pork fat), onion and garlic. The acidity of the wine cuts through the fat of the dish and creates a nice texture in the mouth. A Pinot with a bit of earthiness will complement the flavors of the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and will not, of course, compete with the red wine in the sauce.
LIVE Certified Sustainable
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Enthusiast -
"This Ponzi Pinot offers brambly berry fruit wrapped in flavors of thistle and underbrush. It's textural and aromatic, with lavender, sage and dried herbs. Sourced from multiple vineyards scattered throughout the Willamette Valley, it saw one-quarter new French oak for 11 months prior to bottling."
More on Ponzi Vineyards Classico Pinot Noir 2016
November 11, 2019 - In the most recent edition of Wine Spectator's "Tasting Highlights" series, senior editor Tim Fish reports on the newly released 2016 and 2017 vintages from Oregon's Willamette Valley. In the past…
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