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2007 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.

In an analogy to cooking, warm vintages tend to 'grill' the berries whereas in cooler vintages, the flavor components develop with the sugars resulting in the complexity that is more like that of a long simmered stew. The 2007 William Hatcher is such a wine. Along with my 2005, I am proudest to offer it.

Unlike the prevalent character of red fruits that mark so many Oregon vintages, the 2007 vintage produced exceptional complexity on the nose and palate. The aromas are primary: earth, wet stone, cedar and balsam. On the palate, figs, damson plums, black currant and huckleberry mingle with coffee, mocha, chocolate, leather and tar.

As always, I have held the wine in bottle for two years to permit it to outgrow the tantrums of young Pinot Noir. As such, it drinks beautifully now and will continue to reward patience for 5 to 7 years.

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