Pinot Noir, Nicolas-Jay "Own-Rooted", Willamette Valley 2019
Ungrafted vines tend to be romanticized in the wine business. Maybe it’s the allure of an untouched, unchanged agricultural product. Maybe it’s the exclusivity driven by the fact that the vast majority of Vitis vinifera grapes are grown on other species’ roots, and ungrafted vines are hard to come across if you’re not on an island or in Chile. Maybe “ungrafted” and “own-rooted” have just become another in a long string of wine catchwords. Or, alternatively, maybe it’s because ungrafted vines transform into wines like the 2019 Own-Rooted from Nicolas-Jay. A natural rate of sap flow does wonders, man.
Burgundy icon Jean-Nicolas Méo and record executive Jay Boberg collaborate on Nicolas-Jay in the Willamette Valley, focusing on organic vineyard sources. The fruit for the Own-Rooted bottling comes from three sites across the valley, all on their own rootstock. Two of the vineyards are afflicted with phylloxera, but the owners are so enamored with the fruit produced that they make the financially questionable decision to let the vines keep plugging until they die. Noble, indeed.
Elegance defined, with the prettiest fruit and gentlest tannins anywhere. Sounds simple, but it’s aromatically and texturally complex, with a nose reminiscent of northern Rhône Syrah meshed with a palate crisis-crossing between freshly picked dark berries and a haunting floral quality. A standout Oregon Pinot in a field full of them.
Must be 21 years old to purchase. ID is required at delivery or in-store pickup.