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We Speak Wine USD 51.99 750ml

Benton-Lane First Class Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2014

External Review by We Speak Wine:

Growing Season: The 2014 growing season started out with an early spring and quickly developed into the warmest growing season on record. Although most growers in Oregon thin their crop as a way of insuring ripeness, many abandoned this practice as they felt it was unnecessary and frankly they welcomed a large crop. At Benton-Lane we used crop thinning to increase quality by dropping the less perfect, less ripe clusters and keeping the best. The long growing season ensured full flavored grapes with an emphasis on riper flavors. For the red wines this meant wines favoring the dark fruits (blackberry, black cherry, cassis). A warmer summer also produced more grape sugars which in dry wines means more alcohol although we are easily able to adjust this to bring the wines into perfect balance. Vinification: The must underwent a pre-fermentation “cold soak” to increase extraction of color and flavor. Fermentation took place in small 1.25 ton fermenters with the cap being punched down by hand. The individual lots were fermented with specially chosen yeast and after pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation naturally in French oak barrels, 65% of which were brand new. The barrels selected to be included in the Frist Class cuvee were pre-blended to ensure consistency and a proper “marriage” of flavors and then racked back into barrels to complete the aging process. 10 months in French oak barrels - 12 months bottle aging before release. The Wine: Before you taste this wine, check out the incredible color. It’s a beautiful dark ruby red with a slight hint of blue - It reminds me of the beautiful tail light lenses on 1940’s vintage cars. The aromas swirl around in the glass and blend together. The fruit notes are candied cranberry and cassis, then rich vanilla from the toasted white oak, and a rich earth or mushroom aroma. The wine is definitely full flavored, but without imposing tannins. The predominant flavors are cranberry and fig fruit notes on a mocha framework. The rose petal notes, sweet rich earth and fresh cracked pepper flavors seem to get along beautifully. Note the flash of tangerine in the finish. This is a youngster of a wine that will keep on showing us new stuff for a long, long time. Finished TA: 5.9 g/L Finished pH: 3.67 Alcohol: 14.5% by volume

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Benton-Lane Winery:
A short scenic drive 30 minutes north of Eugene, Benton-Lane Winery is a family owned sustainably-farmed estate vineyard and winery. Steve and Carol Girard have been owners of Benton-Lane since 1988 and share a passionate desire to produce great Pinot Noir. Benton-Lane currently produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and small amounts of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. Home of four Top 10... Read more
A short scenic drive 30 minutes north of Eugene, Benton-Lane Winery is a family owned sustainably-farmed estate vineyard and winery. Steve and Carol Girard have been owners of Benton-Lane since 1988 and share a passionate desire to produce great Pinot Noir. Benton-Lane currently produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and small amounts of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. Home of four Top 100 Wines in the World: 2004 Estate Pinot Noir - Wine Spectator and 2005, 2008 and 2010 Pinot Gris - Wine & Spirits. Benton-Lane wines are currently distributed in 49 states and several international markets. Read less

External Reviews for Benton-Lane First Class Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
05/14/2018

Growing Season: The 2014 growing season started out with an early spring and quickly developed into the warmest growing season on record. Although most growers in Oregon thin their crop as a way of insuring ripeness, many abandoned this practice as they felt it was unnecessary and frankly they welcomed a large crop. At Benton-Lane we used crop thinning to increase quality by dropping the less perfect, less ripe clusters and keeping the best. The long growing season ensured full flavored grapes with an emphasis on riper flavors. For the red wines this meant wines favoring the dark fruits (blackberry, black cherry, cassis). A warmer summer also produced more grape sugars which in dry wines means more alcohol although we are easily able to adjust this to bring the wines into perfect balance. Vinification: The must underwent a pre-fermentation “cold soak” to increase extraction of color and flavor. Fermentation took place in small 1.25 ton fermenters with the cap being punched down by hand. The individual lots were fermented with specially chosen yeast and after pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation naturally in French oak barrels, 65% of which were brand new. The barrels selected to be included in the Frist Class cuvee were pre-blended to ensure consistency and a proper “marriage” of flavors and then racked back into barrels to complete the aging process. 10 months in French oak barrels - 12 months bottle aging before release. The Wine: Before you taste this wine, check out the incredible color. It’s a beautiful dark ruby red with a slight hint of blue - It reminds me of the beautiful tail light lenses on 1940’s vintage cars. The aromas swirl around in the glass and blend together. The fruit notes are candied cranberry and cassis, then rich vanilla from the toasted white oak, and a rich earth or mushroom aroma. The wine is definitely full flavored, but without imposing tannins. The predominant flavors are cranberry and fig fruit notes on a mocha framework. The rose petal notes, sweet rich earth and fresh cracked pepper flavors seem to get along beautifully. Note the flash of tangerine in the finish. This is a youngster of a wine that will keep on showing us new stuff for a long, long time. Finished TA: 5.9 g/L Finished pH: 3.67 Alcohol: 14.5% by volume


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2012 01/14/2015

The Wine: The intriguing dark rosewood color of this wine is accentuated by tantalizing aromas. The dominant fruit scents favor black plums, currants and other darker fruits, with more complex aromas of graphite and smoked meats. On the palate, one finds savory flavors of mocha and Italian herbs, rounded out by fruity nuances of black raspberries and Van cherries. Built to last, this wine will gracefully age for 5-8 years, further complimenting the luscious and expansive mouth feel with aged pinot noir characteristics. Growing Season: After a couple of record breaking cool vintages, 2012 turned out to be decidedly warmer and one of the driest on record. Spurred on by unusually warm late September days, picking began at the beginning of October at the Benton-Lane estate, allowing us to harvest as the vineyard blocks were ready and well before the early November rains. This resulted in generous wines with slightly elevated alcohol levels, moderate acidity and great complexity. Vinification: The must underwent a pre-fermentation “cold soak” to increase extraction of color and flavor. Fermentation took place in small 1.75-ton fermenters with the cap being punched down by hand. The individual lots were fermented with specially chosen yeast and after pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation naturally in French oak barrels, 42% of which were brand new. The barrels selected to be included in the First Class cuvee were pre-blended to ensure consistency and a proper “marriage” of flavors and then racked back into barrels to complete the aging process. To ensure optimal quality, the wine was bottled with Stelvin® Lux screw-top closures. - Winery Aging: 15 months in French Oak barrels – 6 months bottle aging before release Titratable Acidity: 5.7 grams per liter pH: 3.60 Alcohol: 14.1%


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2010 07/13/2013

Fresh and vibrant, deftly playing its cherry, orange peel and black tea flavors against a veil of crisp tannins. Persists impressively on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2017. 525 cases made. -HS Representing a selection of barrels - 40% new - not bottled until 15 months, the Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Noir Estate First Class offers a more concentrated version of the blueberry and cherry fruit that characterized the corresponding "regular" estate bottling; but here there is also a welcome sense of plushness to the texture and some interesting pungent and earthy adjuncts that call to mind sassafras and beet root. The sweetness of fruit here is satisfyingly persistent and I imagine that further complexity may well come with a few years in bottle, of which this wine can surely stand up to at least 6-8.


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2010 01/30/2014

Fresh and vibrant, deftly playing its cherry, orange peel and black tea flavors against a veil of crisp tannins. Persists impressively on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2017. 525 cases made. -HS Representing a selection of barrels - 40% new - not bottled until 15 months, the Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Noir Estate First Class offers a more concentrated version of the blueberry and cherry fruit that characterized the corresponding "regular" estate bottling; but here there is also a welcome sense of plushness to the texture and some interesting pungent and earthy adjuncts that call to mind sassafras and beet root. The sweetness of fruit here is satisfyingly persistent and I imagine that further complexity may well come with a few years in bottle, of which this wine can surely stand up to at least 6-8. ** SOLD OUT **


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2009 01/03/2013

In contrast, there are only 340 cases of the 2009 Pinot Noir First Class. It exhibits more of an earthy terroir character as well as more structure than the Willamette Valley cuvee. It is a shade more complex but hardly worth twice the price. Bright ruby. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of blackberry, cola and lavender, with a spicy oak note and a hint of mocha. Pliant and broad, offering sappy dark berry and cherry-vanilla flavors that pick up a smoky quality with air. Smooth and round on the finish, with the mocha note repeating. This is approachable now and would work well with rich red meat dishes. This deep ruby colored wine exhibits classic aromas of cherry and blackberries, with complex underlying scents of mocha, anise, cedar, and forest floor. Very ripe, fine tannins and balanced acidity create a rich, velvety texture that leads into an extremely long finish. The exquisite balance in this wine makes it a very versatile food wine, but it pairs exce...


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2008 11/18/2010

Light and open-textured, a delicate style that offers a hint of caramel weaving through cherry and raspberry fruit, lingering enticingly under a veil of fine tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2018. 741 cases made. -HS The much more limited (750 cases) 2008 Pinot Noir First Class is a selection of the best barrels in the cellar. It displays a more brooding bouquet containing darker fruits (black cherry and plum) along with attractive spice notes. On the palate it is firm, structured, and well balanced. It is likely to be longer lived than the Estate cuvee but no more pleasurable. Bright ruby-red. Black raspberry and cherry-cola on the nose, with complicating notes of juniper, tobacco and musky herbs. Plush red and dark berry compote flavors provide very good palate coverage. Gains sweetness with air and picks up hints of sassafras and licorice pastille, finishing with very good cling and fine-grained tannins. This is approachable now but has the depth and structure to suggest that it will reward some patience.


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2008 05/20/2011

WS: 91 Points RP: 90+ Points ST: 89 Points



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