The 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Vintage and a Blind tasting.
We love to gather up consumers at Lenné and do blind tastings comparing other producers Pinot Noir's with our own. It is risky business and that is probably why we are one of the few if the only producers who do these kinds of tastings. We generally take some top Oregon Pinot Noir producers, seven of them to be exact, and add one of our wines. The wines are all of the same vintage and near the same price point. We then taste the wine blind and ask consumers to rank them based on preference. We add them up and reveal each wine one by one at the end along with the group rank.
Why do we take that risk? Well first of all it is great fun and I was lucky in that early in my career I worked for a Mondavi property called Vichon. The Mondavi's had a tasting for any staff that wanted to sign up for it weekly. The tasting was blind and the Mondavi's compared their wine to the best wines in the world. I was fortunate to taste first growth Bordeaux's multimple times as well as the wines of Romanee Conti multiple times. So I have carried on the tradition by doing multiple blind tastings throughout the year with consumers(I wish I could afford to put the wines of Romanee Conti in though we do compare our wines to Burgundy at least once a year).
The past Saturday we compared our 2014 Lenné Estate to seven other 2014 Pinot Noirs in a blind tasting with 30 consumers. We have been doing this for the last ten years and this is one of the best flights of wines I have tasted reflecting a remarkable vintage. I am happy to say we came out second in the tasting among some stiff competition. But here are the results and I am only going to give the of the first, second and third place wines(they were all good but the first three really grabbed the groups palate):
1. Purple Hands, Stoller Vineyard
2. Lenne Estate Pinot Noir
3 Beaux Freres Estate
Other wines in the tasting:
Soter Mineral Spring Ranch
Stephen Groff Weber Vineyard
Patricia Green Marine Sedimentary
White Rose Estate
The other reason we hold these tastings is confidence in our site and our wine. Our wines sink into the mid palate and finish because of where they are grown. Site is everything and this one I wouldn't trade for anything.