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2005 William Hatcher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

The fruit reveals the wine to the winemaker. Accordingly, the winemaker shepherds the wine rather than makes it. Notably, there is no word for “winemaker” in French, Italian or Spanish: one is a vigneron, viticoltore or vinicultor, the idea being that the wine is made in the vineyard.

In a given vintage, the optimal blend may comprise only half or so of the barrels I make. As with the preparation of a fine meal, it is a question of what precisely informs the whole. Too much of the finest ingredient may overwhelm the balance. Thus, Rex Hill and A to Z are always blessed with some beautiful barrels.

The 2005 greets the nose with suggestions of dried cherries and plums, leathery notes, vanilla and pencil. The palate is redolent of conserves—plum, cane berries, cranberry—with a silky texture that finishes long on fine tannins. With its firm acidic backbone, the wine will continue to develop and please for 10 to 15 years.

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