Carlton Hill
2009 Carlton Hill Estate Reserve Pinot Noir


Vivid ruby-red. Exotic, heady aromas of red and dark berry preserves, cola and smoky Indian spices. Cherry-vanilla and black raspberry flavors show very good depth and power, with gentle acidity adding lift and clarity. Finishes broad and smooth, with lingering spiciness and very good cling. This pinot is approachable now but has the depth to age.


This small producer holds some wines back for late release, and in this instance it’s a wonderful gift to consumers. Drinking splendidly, the 2009 has rounded, well-integrated, generous flavors of plum and cherry, dusty gravel, and firm, polished tannins. There’s a light hint of bark, and overall a marvelous balance. It’s maturing, but not anywhere near done.

Double Gold – 2012 Oregon Wine Awards

Consisting of four select barrels, this wine was aged in oak barrels for 19 months, 50% of which was new French oak. Be not afraid, however, as the barrels I consistently choose for my wines express light toast and produce spice flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and cedar.

Half of the juice for the Reserve is derived from whole cluster ferments. Alcohol came in at just under 14%. The wine is composed of an even blend of my 115 and 777 Dijon clones. Yield on this vintage was limited to just over 2 tons to the acre.

In My Humble Opinion

Hints of wood smoke and caramel combine with aromas of dried red fruits on the nose. When compared to the 2009 Estate Pinot Noir, the higher percentage of whole cluster juice and longer barrel aging lend more tannins to the Reserve. On the palate, note dried cranberry, black cherry and black raspberry. The lingering finish provides a dash of chocolate and cola which I suspect will develop more fully with time.

Typical of vintages from this remarkable vineyard, the Reserve has serious backbone and structure which will make it an age-worthy companion to prior Carlton Hill vintages. Yet, in contrast to the 2008 vintage, the 2009 Estate Reserve is already very approachable and thus, ready to drink!

96 cases produced.

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