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2009 Benton-Lane First Class Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley – First Class

Posted by on September 29, 2016

First posted March 11, 2016:

First post in a while!  It’s been a long while since I’ve been really moved by a wine, but there have been a nice big lot of them lately.  The 2009 Benton Lane Pinot Noir was in a case of wine I bought during a silent auction at the International Wine Festival in Cincinnati last week.  In fact, I won a 2012 bottle of this one as well.  But for now, we’ll talk about this gem.  Apparently, I’m not the only fan of this wine.

Robert Parker:  “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. Benton Lane, located in the southern tip of Willamette Valley closer to Eugene than Portland, is owned and operated by Napa Valley ex-pat, Steve Girard. His Estate Pinot Noir has long been recognized for its excellent price/quality ratio as well as for its distinctive postage stamp label which makes it stand out on a retail shelf.” (10/2011)benton-lane

Anyway, this wine shows the great nose of what I love in a Willamette Pinot Noir.  Very floral rose petal fragrance with some earthy tones.  Cola and some strawberry jam in the background as well.  Ruby with some brick-red coloration suggest this is aging well, but is peaking now more than likely.  The flavor profile suggests to me that it won’t get any better than it is now.  Some slight acidity remains as does plenty of fruit flavors.  Blackberries and vanilla-cherry cola flavors present.  Not big, but certainly no lightweight.  Call this one a light-heavyweight contender from a good vintage.  Full flavor pinot with a great nose.

T-Scale:  92 points.  I paid about $9.50 for this bottle, but it was part of a lot.  Expect to double that price if you find one.  Note this is different from the regular bottling from Benton-Lane.  This is a limited release of 350 cases, but you may still find it out there.  I would jump on it if you find one.

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