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2008 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 2008 William Hatcher Pinot noir radiates from a core of dark fruits: black cherries, loganberries, figs and plum. The nose is further accented with rose, balsam, coffee and mocha. On the palate, a trace of minerality runs counterpoint to the initial sensation of black fruit. As is my goal with every wine, the mid-palate is supple and rich before descending into a long finish.

The best wines of 2008 will be long-lived. Here, one will be rewarded with perhaps five years of cellaring, knowing that there will be another ten to fifteen years to discover the changing nuances.

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