Wine Awards

Carlton Hill Vineyard awards

Over the years, Carlton Hill wines have won their share of accolades. Listed below are the honors earned by our wines:



2013 Vintage Awards & Press

2013 Carlton Hill Wine Company Estate Pinot Noir

  • 90 pts - Wine Advocate

The 2013 Pinot Noir has a clean, light and fresh red berry nose with subtle sous-bois scents developing in the glass. The palate is fresh on the entry with supple, fleshy tannin, plenty of red berry fruit and a sense of reserve on the finish that suits it well. This is thoughtfully crafted.

 
2012 Vintage Awards & Press

2012 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

  • 91 pts - Wine Advocate

The 2012 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve sees 50% new oak for 16 months. It has a luscious bouquet with red cherries, crushed strawberry and a hint of vanilla emanating from the oak. The palate is fleshy and smooth in the mouth, not a hair out of place here with sensual raspberry coulis, strawberry and dark chocolate notes on the finish. Excellent.

2012 Carlton Hill Wine Company Estate Pinot Noir

  • 87 pts - Wine Advocate

The 2012 Pinot Noir has a conservative nose that is clean and "correct," but does not quite deliver the complexity of the variety. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and well-judged acidity, the finish gaining a little more conviction than the aromatics with red plum and allspice on the finish. Fine.

 
2011 Vintage Awards & Press

2011 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

  • 88-89 pts - Wine Advocate

While only around 10% of whole clusters were included in the fermentation of the corresponding basic bottling, Polite’s 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve – constituting a mere hundred cases worth, still residing in its four barrels when I tasted – was half vendange entier. A fascinatingly pungent nose brings juniper berry, licorice, orange rind, cinnamon and clove to bear on cherry and red currant that then inform a firm and delicate palate. The flavor fascination here follows in the direction adumbrated on the nose, but there is a faint drying in the finish that I attribute to the 50% new barrel. I’d tentatively plan to follow this through 2017 but with hopes of reassessing.

2011 Carlton Hill Wine Company Estate Pinot Noir

  • 87 pts - Wine Advocate

An understated, relatively lightweight Carlton Hill 2011 Pinot Noir Estate is scented with sweat, beef broth and lentil, along with intimations of the red currant that then tartly informs the palate. While demure, the finish here is certainly as interesting as the nose led me to anticipate, and it preserves an admirable sense of primary juiciness, thus offering some genuine refreshment of the sort frequently encountered from this vintage. I would tentatively plan to enjoy it by 2016.

David Polite – who has been vinifying fruit from his Carlton Hill estate since 2002 – opined that “among the bizarre things about 2011 was that the really late veraison was interrupted when the vines began shutting down” during the short-lived early September heat-spike. “I’ve typically been picking earlier than my peers,” notes Polite, “but in 2011 you just had to wait,” and he did not harvest until October 26.

2011 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir Estate Whole Cluster

  • 89-90 pts - Wine Advocate

A fan of whole-cluster fermentation, Polite set aside two barrels vinified entirely vendange entier and at the time I tasted them was just a week from bottling them as 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Whole Cluster. Rose petal and rose wood; licorice and chocolate-covered orange rind; cherry and red currant make for a complex aromatic and gustatory performance, the faintly torrefied and oxidative elements presenting a bit of disharmony with the tart fresh side of the wine, but that may ultimately prove synergistic and is certainly distinctive. There is impressive sheer grip and plenty of primary juiciness in the finish of this firm Pinot that needs a few years, I suspect, to really show its personality and should prove worth following through at least 2018.

 

 
2010 Vintage Awards & Press

2010 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir

Double Gold - 2012 Oregon Wine Awards

91 pts - Wine Advocate

Proprietor David Polite emphasized the enormous efforts it required to spare his 2010 Pinot Noir Estate from avian decimation. “I had to keep running back and forth across the vineyard every morning to scare off the birds,” he relates, for which purpose he employed a special pistol that discharged M-80s in their general direction, normal noisemaking having proven ineffective. It was worth it! Here is a Pinot as tart-edged, firm, and ultimately complex as its 2011 counterpart, but with none of the drying tendency noted in that wine. Bloody, roasted red meats and pit-inflected cherry are wreathed in Latakia tea smokiness on the nose, and bracing, finely tannic palate, leading to a finish whose sinister, forest floor intimations are fascinatingly juxtaposed with the tart brightness of cherry and with incisive nips of horseradish that convey intense invigoration. This is going to be fascinating to follow through at least 2018. (There is a small lot of reserve 2010, but Polite has cautiously postponed a decision on whether to release it, as it harbors a touch of brett whose evolution he wants to follow.)

David Polite – who has been vinifying fruit from his Carlton Hill estate since 2002 – opined that “among the bizarre things about 2011 was that the really late veraison was interrupted when the vines began shutting down” during the short-lived early September heat-spike. “I’ve typically been picking earlier than my peers,” notes Polite, “but in 2011 you just had to wait,” and he did not harvest until October 26.

 
2009 Vintage Awards & Press

2009 Estate Reserve

  • Double Gold - 2012 Oregon Wine Awards
  • Excellent - Wine Press NW

"Excellent. Carlton Hill Wine Co. 2009 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District.

Carlton Hill planted its estate vineyard in 1999 and was expanded in 2008. All the grapes for owner/winemaker David Polite’s Estate Reserve Pinot Noir comes from these grapes. This wine opens with aromas of black currant candy, elderberries,blueberries and vanilla. On the palate, it reveals flavors of currants, black cherries, blackberries and chocolate orange sticks. Half the wine comprised 50% whole-cluster juice, and it was aged in oak for 19 months, half in new French oak. (105 cases, 13.5% alcohol)"


2009 Estate

  • Silver - 2011 Oregon Wine Awards
  • 88 pts -Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

"2009 Pinot Noir Yamhill Carlton District Medium red. Redcurrant and cherry aromas are complemented by herb and smoke nuances, along with a hint of cracked pepper. Tightly wound and a bit tart, with good focus to the lively red berry and bitter cherry flavors. I like this wine's energy, but some more flesh would have been nice. The finish is tangy, refreshingly bitter and nicely persistent.  88 ~Josh Raynolds"

 
2008 Vintage Awards & Press

2008 Estate Reserve

  • Gold Medal - 2011 Oregon Wine Awards
  • 92 pts - Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

"2008 Pinot Noir Reserve, Willamette Valley. Bright ruby. Explosively perfumed, oak-accented nose evokes black raspberry, cherry-cola and smoky Indian spices, with a sneaky floral quality building with air. Sappy, densely packed red and dark berry flavors show liqueur-like intensity but are impressively energetic. The spicy quality comes back strong on the finish, which clings with very good tenacity. I'd let this one age for at least another few years. 92 ~Josh Raynolds"

 
2007 Vintage Awards & Press

Silver - 2007 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir

91 pts - Wine Advocate

Picked on September 30 and at 14% natural alcohol – before some of the worst of the vintage’s rains – Polite’s Carlton Hill 2007 Pinot Noir Estate can be added to the considerable list of wines from this very difficult and hence much-maligned harvest that nowadays taste terrific. (And bear in mind that this is from very young vines.) Smoky, earthy pungency of peat, humus and burley tobacco mingle with fresh red raspberry, shadowed by framboise distillate. The piquancy of cherry pit and crunch of raspberry seed practically burst with intensity in a juicy and sustained finish, with a saline streak serving to practically light up the salivary glands. I can’t imagine this failing to impress through at least 2015.

David Polite – who has been vinifying fruit from his Carlton Hill estate since 2002 – opined that “among the bizarre things about 2011 was that the really late veraison was interrupted when the vines began shutting down” during the short-lived early September heat-spike. “I’ve typically been picking earlier than my peers,” notes Polite, “but in 2011 you just had to wait,” and he did not harvest until October 26.