Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue of Great Northwest Wine recently published their review of our 2018 Villanelle Tonnelier Reserve Pinot Noir. The pair, who have been writing about Pacific Northwest wines (including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Idaho) for more than 35 years, have previously reviewed several of our wines over the years. (They also recently declared us “The Unofficial Chehalem Mountains Winery of The Tony Kornheiser Show,” in case you missed that little tidbit.)
Here’s what they thought of our latest Villanelle release:
“Attorney-turned-winemaker Dave Specter is into the second decade at his Chehalem Mountains winery north of downtown Newberg, Ore., and he’s helped cast a spotlight upon several emerging small vineyards along the way. For his Villanelle tier, it’s been Tonnelier Vineyard, a 4-acre Pinot Noir project by Mike Slater in a neighborhood that includes McCrone – a renowned site in the Ken Wright Cellars constellation.
“From Tonnelier’s Dijon 115 and 777 vines, Specter produces perhaps his most impressive Pinot Noir. Fanciful aromas of chokecherry, Montmorency cherry and crushed brick lead into a fruity and finesse-filled Pinot Noir that’s so easy to enjoy it might be mistaken for Gamay.
“Flavors of boysenberry and cherry pie filling pick up a pinch of chai spices and lead into a tiny tug of tannin that provides just enough tension. Club members earn the first crack at the Tonnelier, and alas, the 2018 vintage marks the penultimate production of Villanelle as a result of Slater selling the vineyard in 2020. Outstanding!”
True to form, of course, the 2018 Villanelle is now totally sold out. HOWEVER, we just released the final vintage of our “little black dress” pinot, the 2019 Villanelle Tonnelier Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir. As noted by Degerman and Perdue, Mike and Julie Slater sold their Tonnelier Vineyard last summer and retired to Montana. In their honor, we’re likewise retiring their wine.