2000 Penner-Ash Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Lynn Penner-Ash is the former winemaker at Rex Hill also in Willamette Valley. I’ve always been a big fan of Rex Hill’s wines in good vintages. So it was a no brainer to get on the Penner-Ash list. Lynn is passionate about Pinot — and Syrah. This is what Penner-Ash is concentrating on. The 1999 Pinot was phenomenal. So I anxiously awaited for the 2000. The wine was released about 6 weeks ago (mid September 2002). So I opened one the other night. And I have to say I was disappointed — initially. A youthful wine, this wine first was tight, herbal with slight floral notes and a tinge of fennel, dried marjoram. On the palate it was backward, rustic and offering dried fruit and flowers. Tannic and tough. Oh well. I finished the glass, my notes and went to bed.

Penner-Ash Pinot 2000 Day 2: Holy Pinot from Oregon. I passed by the half bottle that I’d left open on the counter overnight. Still a bit blown over by last nights disappointment, I decided to try it again. Wow. The fruit, berry, and bright floral fragrances screamed out and said “Allan, try me again!” And I did. The tannins mellowed from the night before and revealed a smooth, elegant wine that still packed power that you rarely get from domestic Pinot. A luscious feel in the mouth with a finish that pleased. I’ve got to wait a couple years before I try to steal the youth again. This wine will get better. 90 points.