Panther Creek Cellars 2014 Carter Vineyard Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills, $65
Tony Rynders wanted to be the one to take over the winemaking at Panther Creek when Ken Wright stepped away in 1994. Twenty years later, and after a storied career at Domaine Serene, Rynders is heading up the brand that helped make Wright and Oregon famous. In 2015, Wright purchased this vineyard near Bethel Heights from Jack and Kathleen Carter, so this wine carries a remarkable level of symmetry. There’s longer barrel contact with the 2014 Carter than some of Rynders’ other Pinot Noir bottlings – 16 months in 43% new French oak — and that leads to aromas of elderberry, root beer, rose hips and patchouli. On the palate, crushed black cherry and pomegranate combine to create a pleasing texture of tannin with a long and juicy finish. And thanks to Wright and his team, there’s a remarkable restoration project underway at Carter Vineyard to create habitat for the nearly extinct Fender’s Blue butterfly.
Production: 175 cases