An Exclusive - Willamette Valley: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction!
(Photo sourced from Willamette Valley Wine Auction website)
We have some very exciting news about 4 new exclusive Pinot Noir wines that we’ve been eagerly waiting to share with you, our valued Wine Club members, since 2016!
Of course, there is a unique adventure behind these wines, as they’re specialty bottlings from the highly-coveted Willamette Pinot Noir Barrel Auction.
If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry - not many have.
What is the Willamette Pinot Noir Barrel Auction?
The inaugural event was in 2016 and since then, it has been a yearly affair where only 40 wineries in the Willamette Valley of Oregon are selected to participate.
But the catch?
For the event we attended, the one-of-a-kind Pinot Noir had to be a 2014 vintage that was completely unique and different than anything the wineries had ever bottled before! The lots were 5-cases, 10-cases, and 15-cases. A minuscule amount of very special wine!
And in all honesty, it was an honor just to be invited to this event. Each winery was asked to invite one guest (with a plus one attached) that is a strong supporter of their brand who will help with the bidding. Only those guests of each winery and a selection of other key buyers vetted by the committee would be allowed to hold paddles for the auction. So, in other words, everyone in attendance was an invite-only!
We were lucky to be invited by Rocky Point Cellars, who has been featured in our wine of the month club shipments and makes fantastic, award-wining wines.
Without further adieu, here’s how the weekend unfolded...
On Friday April 1, 2016, the first annual Willamette Valley Auction commenced with a full schedule! Day #1 was dedicated to all the wineries in attendance and was a great opportunity to taste their most recent vintages. Shuttle buses ran between 3 venues which hosted around 25 wineries each. Every venue offered wines from various AVA’s of the valley, interesting foods, activities and music.
They included: “Spring Catch!”, hosted by Adelsheim Vineyard, “Wood-fired bites & Helicopter Flights”, at Alexana Estate Vineyard, and lastly, “Take me out to the AVA”, at Penner Ash Wine Cellar.
Adelsheim’s “Spring Catch” consisted of a wild Northwest salmon bake and Pinot Noir party, with a performance by guitarist, Jason Okamoto. Here, wines from Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge AVAs, and Willamette Valley Single Vineyards were featured.
Alexana Estate’s “Wood-fired bites and Helicopter Flights” offered exactly what you would expect! Some delicious wood-fired bites, and flights routed over the surrounding AVAs of the Willamette Valley. Along with the tasty food, and fun adventure, were wines from Dundee Hills, McMinnville AVAs, and Willamette Valley Vineyard Blends.
Finally was Penner Ash’s “Take me out to the AVA”, which encompassed a gorgeous outside venue with panoramic views, and a concert by rock violinist, Aaron Meyer. The wines featured at this venue, were from the Eola-Amity Hills and Yamhill Carlton AVAs.
After a very full - and fun - Friday of wine tasting and exploring Willamette Valley, came the busy Day #2.
Saturday morning and early afternoon consisted of the “serious wine tasting” for the bottles that were actually going to be auctioned off later that day. Anticipation was growing as we visited each winery’s table and tasted with other bidders, attempting to keep a poker face throughout.
4:00 p.m. rolls around, and it is time for the bidders to take their seats, and the auction commenced...
Paddles raised left and right, then slowly disappeared as the bids kept climbing. Once the lot was declared SOLD! you could hear some bidders excitedly gasp at the price some of the lots were sold for.
The winners were then congratulated with a complimentary bottle of Champagne.
This process repeated again and again until all was sold and the auction was finished. The joyous crowd then returned to the large tent outside for more food, music, and of course, wine!
The lucky winners, along with their unique lots of Pinot Noir, received the barrel head engraved with, “Premier Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Auction 2016,” which was also signed by the winemaker.
How did we do in the auction?
Well, we were able to secure four different small-lots of amazing Pinot Noir!
• Rocky Point 2014 Pinot Noir
• Elizabeth Chambers 2014 Pinot Noir
• Willful Wine Company 2014 Pinot Noir
• J Christopher 2014 Pinot Noir
Each bottle is from a minuscule batch, hand labeled, and numbered. We have been patiently waiting for these four Pinot Noir wines to fully develop, and they are finally ready!
Since they’re very special and limited wines, we’re unable to send them out in our regular wine club shipments.
However, they ARE now available on our Online Wine Store! So, to all of our Pinot Noir lovers and those interested in unique bottles of wine, head to our online wine shop and check out these four fantastic wines!