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Romping Through the 2021 Ken Wright Pinots
What a joy after the challenges of 2020 to taste a full throttle lineup from Ken Wright
The winery tells me that all the 2021 single vineyard wines will be released over the next few months. Carter and Canary Hill may already have sold out. It’s worth a special salute to Ken that his prices have barely budged in years and a further discount (down to $55) is offered to club members. As always with young wines, let ‘em breathe!
Here are my notes and scores:
Ken Wright 2021 Bonnie Jean Vineyard Pinot Noir
Young as it is this wine already has the rich, dense and expressive aromas of a wine with a half decade behind it. The alcohol remains low, which allows more subtlety and elegance across the entire 2021 portfolio. Lightly cooked cherries, baking spices and delicate touches of floral highlights cut across the palate. One fifth of the barrels were new. The youth shows mostly in the edgy tannins, which will smooth out with another couple of years in the bottle or aggressive aeration.
679 cases; 12.8%; $65 (Yamhill-Carlton) 92/100
Ken Wright 2021 Carter Vineyard Pinot Noir
Tart, racy raspberry fruit shines here, backed with juicy acids that mix Meyer lemon and blood orange. Beautifully defined and precise, this wine should cellar quite well indefinitely. Meanwhile, decant it and enjoy it for its ebullient youth.
667 cases; 13.3%; $65 (Eola-Amity Hills) 92/100
Ken Wright 2021 Savoya Vineyard Pinot Noir
This fresh and berry-laden wine bursts forth with a mix of rhubarb, cranberries and raspberries. The acids are softened and smooth, underscoring a palate-prickling hint of jicama. Complex and captivating, this elegant wine continues to expand and add layers as it breathes open.
503 cases; 13.2%; $65 (Yamhill-Carlton) 93/100
Ken Wright 2021 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
Now more than three decades since it was first planted, the Shea vineyard is as iconic in Oregon as any site can claim to be. Dozens of wineries seek these grapes, and it's a pleasure to see what a veteran such as Ken Wright can do with them. He keeps the alcohol low, yielding a bright, savory, spicy wine anchored in brambly berries and tannins reminiscent of herbal tea. Complex and a bit unyielding, this is a wine to aerate aggressively if you are planning to drink it any time soon. Tasted on the second day it was slowly gaining volume. My 3/3/23 Wine of the Week.
1432 cases; 12.8%; $65 (Yamhill-Carlton) 94/100
Ken Wright 2021 Canary Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Among the oldest vines (planted 1983 in Ken Wright's single vineyard series, Canary Hill also benefits from its Pommard clones. It's juicy and fresh, crisply defined with flavors of just-picked wild berries backed with vivid citrus. Aging in 20% new French oak puts a lightly toasty frame around it, nicely balanced against the ripping acids. I would guess its best days are a half decade away.
608 cases; 13.5%; $65 (Eola-Amity Hills) 94/100
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