Willamette Valley – iOTA Cellars

Willamette Valley Sub-AVA Tour Continues
We’re nearly done with our tour of the sub-AVA’s of the Willamette Valley AVA. Today we visit the Eola – Amity Hills AVA through our friends at iOTA Cellars.

(click on any of the maps to see full size in a slide show)

Eola-Amity Hills AVA
Traveling due south from McMinnville, we arrive at Eola – Amity Hills AVA, approved in 2006. After our other visits, we’re not surprised to see the Eola-Amity Hills AVA is first delineated by altitude above 200 feet. All through the Willamette Valley, the valley floors have collected rich deep soils for other crops, typically not the best for grapes. The hillsides above the floor are composed of shallow, basalt derived soils with poor water holding capacity. The second key characteristic is the cool summer afternoon breeze from the Van Duzer corridor, which significantly drops the afternoon and evening temperatures, helping the vines retain acidity in their grapes.

iOTA Cellars
The Pelos and Sandberg families teamed up in the late 1990’s to start the journey to a long dreamed of vineyard and winery. In 2000, they bought land in what is today the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, planted their first vines and iOTA Cellars was born. Today, both families live on the property which is only partly planted, they have left large tracts natural, to encourage a diverse ecosystem. The vineyard is dry farmed and is LIVE certified. They practice very thoughtful viticulture techniques with cover crops, mechanical weed control and organic and sustainable products.

FoodWineClick! and iOTA Cellars
I was not a wine enthusiast prior to purchasing six bottles of our next door neighbors’ first commercial vintage of iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir. Never having spent more than $20 on a bottle of wine before, I figured maybe I should learn what this wine thing is about given that I had just purchased wines for more than $30 a bottle.  Such was the beginning of my plunge into the deep end of wine!

Disclosure: wines for this post were NOT provided as samples. The Pelos – Sandbergs are our good friends and my opinions might be biased!

iOTA Cellars Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir Eola – Amity Hills 2016

iOTA Cellars Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills AVA 2016 ($42 or online here) 14.1% abv
Eye: Clear medium ruby
Nose: Clean medium+ intensity aromas of fresh blueberry, blackberry, black plum, blackberry pie filling with cedar and earth.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavors of rich ripe blueberry, blackberry, black plum, blackberry pie filling, cedar and earth. Texture is plush and inviting. High alcohol, medium+ body, with a long lingering fruit finish.
Observation: The fruit character is front and center with great purity.

iOTA Cellars “Whole Cluster” Pinot Noir Eola – Amity Hills 2016. A fun side by side comparison!

iOTA Cellars Pelos Sandberg Vineyard “Whole Cluster” Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills AVA 2016 ($46 or online here) 13.9%abv
Eye: Clear, medium ruby
Nose: Clean, medium intensity aromas of ripe strawberries, black cherries, blueberries, with notes of tomato leaf and earth
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavors of ripe red and blue fruits, tomato leaf and earth. Texture is generous but not as plush as the other wine. Medium alcohol, medium body, long finish.
Observations: The whole cluster wine is a bit more subtle with a closer mix of fruit and earth. Very fun to taste the two side-by-side with the only difference being destemmed vs. whole cluster fruit.

Dinner at the Lake
Summer evenings at the lake feature easy meals. We enjoyed comparing the two iOTA Cellars wines over a dinner of grilled flank steak, fresh corn on the cob, broccoli slaw and homemade refrigerator pickles from cucumbers in our garden. I never hesitate to pair grilled steak with any red wine. From Beaujolais to Cabernet Sauvignon, they all pair just fine, depending more on the drinkers’ mood than anything else.

Comments
2 Responses to “Willamette Valley – iOTA Cellars”
  1. Ha! Nice “disclosure”! And now I know how where you started your fine wine journey! Great post. Will look for this producer!

  2. Andrea Lemieux says:

    What a great wine lover origin story!

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