Passion for Pinot with a Sense of Place is what defines WillaKenzie Estate, a family owned winery located in the heart of the Willamette Valley. We produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and small amounts of Pinot Meunier, Gamay Noir and Chardonnay. Our wines are made from grapes sustainably grown on the Estate and their Old World style reflect our French heritage. WillaKenzie Estate is named after the marine sedimentary soil that defines it. It’s a small, family-owned winery making wonderfully intense but balanced wines exclusively from the Pinot family of grapes from their own estate vineyards. Owner, Bernard Lacroute developed a passion for Pinot Noir in his native Burgundy. Having made a stack of cash in the Silicon Valley, he thought that growing Pinot Noir in Oregon would be a nice way to return to his roots. He came across an advertisement for land in the Wine Spectator and in January 1991 he and his francophile wife, Ronni purchased a beautiful 420 acre cattle ranch in Yamhill. In 1992 the first vineyards were planted on south-facing slopes replacing pasture, blackberries and poison oak. Now there are more than one hundred acres of vineyards pleasingly arranged on the rolling hills below the Chehalem mountains around untouched stands of native Douglas ﬁr and oak. A European theme is evident at WillaKenzie: with a degree in œnology from the University of Bordeaux, Thibaud Mandet brings a French touch to the art and science of winemaking. This is allied to a profound respect for the character of the soil and its effect on the wines made from the vines which grow there with different bottlings from different single vineyards. But this is not to suggest that they are shy of innovation or experimentation. Many different clones are used in the vineyards, both Dijon and more heritage types such as Pommard and Wadenswil. For the health of their soils they use organic fertilisers and fungicides rather than synthetic ones, and no herbicides. In the winery the wines are treated as naturally as possible, which the design of the multi-level gravity flow winery helps to ensure by making use of pumps largely redundant. Attention to detail, solid investment, skilled grape-growing and winemaking and impeccable vineyards result in reliably high quality wines which fuse elegance and power from one of Oregon’s smartest estates.
A lovely bouquet of dried violets, lavender, strawberry and hints of cedar. Balanced, supple and very expressive on the palate, it manages to be light and graceful yet powerful at the same time. Redcurrant, black cherry, raspberry, tea leaves and earth give this medium-bodied wine layers of complexity that linger on the palate.