The Best Pinot Noirs in the Country

//The Best Pinot Noirs in the Country

The Best Pinot Noirs in the Country

George and Mark during Mark’s
visit in 2015

I’m going to cut right to the chase: Mark Tarlov might be the greatest Pinot Noir producer. Period.

Sure, I could tell you about his success at Evening Land and how he put that winery on the map. And, yes, I could talk about how he then started Chapter 24, which got him named “Winemaker of the Year.” And it’s true that his Pinot Noirs are some of the highest rated…ever. And that his wineries are consistently in the Top 100. And, yes, he’s even done a tasting at Shubie’s, too.

But when I met with Mark, BZ and Dougy on Monday morning to try Mark’s latest project, Rose & Arrow, I was almost speechless.

Rose & Arrow produces seven wines. But they are seven drop-dead gorgeous Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Seven Pinot Noirs that change everything. Seven distinctly different Pinot Noirs from 5.2 acres.

Are you thinking what I am thinking? Those 5.2 acres must be pretty special! You would be right.

These 5.2 acres hail from a larger 152-acre plot on a tiny hillside created by eruptions of the Cascade Volcanic Arc. 14 million years have eroded the land, creating ribbons of indigenous “mother rock.” But how did Mark and his team discover this? Mark likes to ask “why” a lot.

So, Mark teamed up with a MIT biochemical engineer, a Chilean geologist and, of course, Mark’s famed Burgundian winemaker. This dream team started with tasting previous vintages of Chapter 24 to get a sense of the terroir a bit better because, like Mark says, “If you can find the place, you can find the beauty.” Then they studied the composition beneath the vineyard using electrical conductivity mapping and compared that information with what they found digging pits in the ground. They began to map distinct areas of volcanic flow where the rock had eroded into the right proportion of rock, alteration and clay. These rare “primary” parcels would become the base of Rose & Arrow’s limited selection, single-vineyard Pinots. 

Mark makes a point to classify his wines as rare…not scarce. To Mark, “Scarcity is a function of market conditions…while ‘rare’ on the other hand refers to the creation of the thing itself and catalyzing conditions of its creation; singular, specific, seldom occurring and infrequently found.” And that’s just it. You don’t find wines of this caliber often.

Mark and his team divided their 5.2 acres into small vineyard “villages.” The boundaries of the villages are drawn to hold soils that share similar rock and rock-erosion characteristics. Within these “villages” there are small specific rocky sections that display unusually delicious characteristic and those are referred to as “Articulates.” Further and tighter focus finds the small rock “pleats” that produce “First Expression” wines.

Ok, so I just got pretty technical, but trust me when I say that these wines are unlike any other wines that I have tasted from the Willamette Valley or even beyond. Brilliant, complex, mouth-watering, vibrant…I could keep going. I don’t recall the last time I was quite so impressed.

Shubie’s is one of two stores in the state with access to Rose & Arrow. I have picked three of Mark’s wines (one from each level) to offer on a pre-order basis (the wine should be available in time for Thanksgiving). It was very hard to pick only three, but these are the three that truly made me go, “Now, this is wine.”

As you can imagine, I have tasted a lot of wine over the course of my career. But it is not exaggeration when I say that Mark has created an experience that I will remember for years to come.

Cheers,
George

If you are interested in any of the wines, please email all orders to dougy@shubies.com

HOPEWELL HILLS, 2016, The Villages

AVA: Eola Amity Hills
Bottles Produced: 675
Elevation: 340 ft
95 points from Wine Spectator
“Combines plush richness with remarkable structure, showing expressive river stone and black raspberry aromas and refined, layered cherry, black tea and savory spice flavors that pick up speed toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2025.”
 
Single bottle price: $100/btl

15% off with any 3 bottle purchase: $85/btl

GATHERED STONES, 2016, The Articulates

AVA: Eola Amity Hills
Bottles Produced: 675
Elevation: 340 ft
“This parcel is a complicated place of black, red, and white basalt with barely any topsoil. Time has worn the ancient rocks into flat stones that wind like a river around the belly of the vineyard’s 1.47 acres-resulting in a Pinot Noir that’s energetic and structured, and full of deeply satisfying, ripe fruit.”
 
Single bottle price: $125/btl

15% off with any 3 bottle purchase: $106.25/btl

THE POINT, 2016, The First Expressions

AVA: Chehalem Mountain
Bottles Produced: 447
Elevation: 600 ft
96 points from Wine Spectator
“Dynamic, impeccably focused and expressive, with evocative rose petal, crushed stone, orange peel and raspberry flavors that build richness toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2025.”
 
Single bottle price: $160/btl

15% off with any 3 bottle purchase: $136/btl

By |2018-10-24T08:33:34+00:00October 23rd, 2018|Wine, Beer & Spirits|0 Comments

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