Oregon meet Burgundy, Burgundy meets Oregon with Nicolas Jay, the new joint-venture between former record label boss Jay Boberg and Burgundy vigneron Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Vosne. They have known each other since 1988 when Jean-Nicolas was studying in the United States, though it was a visit to the region in 2011 that reignited Jay's interest in the region. Jay told me that together they had spent a long time seeking the right kind of terroir in which to start their project, which they finally found in Bishop Creek Vineyard, which was formerly part of the source for Jason Lett's "Black Cap" label at Eyrie. They also recruited Seattle-born Tracy Kendall, who joined us for the tasting. She was an oenologist at Adelsheim for five years, having previously worked at Torii Mor and Cristom and in a twist of fate, she is back at Adelsheim since the Nicolas Jay wines are being vinified in their winery until they get their own up and running. The vines have been converted to organic viticulture, although both Jay and Tracy are doubtful they would ever convert to biodynamics. The fruit here is 100% destemmed and pressed slowly, higher temperatures allowed during fermentation to extract color and body. Jay also told me that from the 2017 vintage, they will have some Chardonnay, from grafted over Pinot Gris vines. "We tend to have lower alcohol levels at around 13.5%," Jay told me. "In 2015 it is even lower at 12.5%. We are the first or one of the first to pick in 2014 and 2015." In these early days, the production is 1,600 cases and currently sold in seven US States. Obviously, with someone like Jean-Nicolas partnering the project, there is an element of class to these wines, harmonious and nicely poised.
Nicolas-Jay Nysa Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2019
Very fine aromatics: bright red cherries with some floral overtones and a slight sappiness, showing a hint of oak, too. Astonishing elegance on the palate with red cherries, cranberries and a hint of cedar spice. This is so pretty, in a lighter style, but it doesn’t lack concentration or potential ageworthiness. Give this a little time to fully integrate. So good. 95/100 The Wine Anorak
Situated at an elevation of 600 to 700 feet in the Dundee Hills, 40-acre Nysa Vineyard was planted in 1990 by Michael Mega, and is recognized as the source for some of Oregon’s most exciting Pinot Noirs. Nicolas-Jay’s grapes come from a coveted block of own-rooted Pommard clone vines that are some of the site’s original 1990 Plantings. These tightly spaced vines grow in Jory volcanic soils with an underlying layer of basalt bedrock that helps allow the vines to be dry farmed. The older vines on this block naturally produce yields of just under 2.0 tons per acre.The resulting wine from this old-vine Dundee Hills site is fragrant, elegant and enticing, with concentrated red fruit, strawberry and candied cherry. High elevation contributes a backbone of acidity and fine-grained tannin.