It’s no secret that I love my Pinot Noir, and because this is the perfect time of the year for red wine drinkers to imbibe in lighter juice, I decided to open up this recently-reduced gal a few nights ago in order to satisfy my curiosity. I say recently-reduced because the former price for this wine at various Costco clubs in North Georgia was $34.99, while it is currently available for $27.99. That’s a 20% price reduction folks.
I had a few Willamette Valley pinots recently that I was nearly obsessed with (2012 Roco & 2010 Ken Wright Cellars “Meredith Vineyard”), and these flavor bombs may have influenced my impression of the more-restrained, Burgundian-style Pinot Noir that I found in the Shea Estate “Shea Vineyard” pinot.
Shea Wine Cellars is named after Dick Shea, who before moving to Oregon and planting Shea Vineyard in 1989, worked on Wall Street in New York City for years. Shea Wine Cellars was established in 1996 and has been producing excellent Pinot Noir & Chardonnay ever since. You may have seen “Shea Vineyard” on other top Oregon Pinot Noir labels, and this is because the winery currently uses only 25% of the vineyard’s production for their own effort. They sell the rest off to the likes of Bergstrom, Penner-Ash, and Ken Wright Cellars, amongst others. The vineyard itself is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and sits on sedimentary soil over fractured sandstone.
I will pause here for a moment to note that Pinot Noir is a grape that is very sensitive to the area in which it is grown. It is excellent in expressing terrior, and this is why we see so many single vineyard Pinot Noir wines. Winemakers believe that each vineyard’s fruit expression is unique to the point that they often don’t want to blend different vineyards together. It behooves you to learn which soil type, or vineyard site, your Pinot is coming from because if you really like the wine, chances are you will like other Pinots from these areas.
Pinot Noir grown on sedimentary soil often produces wines that are powerful and well-structured with black fruit, cola, and coffee flavors. If you like a more full-bodied and robust Pinot Noir, choosing one from Shea Vineyard might be the right move for you.
The 2013 Shea Estate Pinot Noir that I bought took three days to open. Granted, I did use a rubber stopper to pump out the air each evening which delayed the process (or extended the life of the wine?). But I think the more important question here is: Why did it take me three days to drink a bottle of pinot? I just wasn’t that into it, to be honest. I had heard nothing but rave reviews of the wine from my peers and various Costco members, but I felt that the wine lacked the depth, complexity, and fruit concentration that I look for in a pinot at this price point. Each evening I had hoped that I would feel differently, or that the wine would have changed, and finally on the third night, the acidity seemed to mellow so that the fruit could shine just a little bit more.
Wine Spectator gives the 2013 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 88 points while the previous vintage scored 91 points. Wine Enthusiast gave the 2013 vintage 91 Points and Vivino users rate it 4.1 points and list an average price of $43.99. I give this wine 87 Points.
CostcoWineBlog.com rating: 87 Points