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 Own Rooted Pinot Noir 2019
Lovely brightness to this wine, with good acidity, and fresh red cherry and redcurrant fruit. This has some structure, but it sits in nicely amid the focused bright fruit. There’s a transparency to this wine, which is bright and purposeful. Very fine. 95/100 The Wine Anorak
From several old-vine sites in the Willamette Valley, each at least 30 years old, and planted at a time when rootstock was relatively rare in Oregon viticulture. The Wineries Bishop Creek Vineyard supplies a portion of the blend, showing off its characteristic black fruit. Hyland Vineyard, the oldest in the McMinnville AVA, sits atop a hillside looking over the Van Duzer Corridor, and its 45 year old vines supply tension in this wine. 1990-planted Pommard from Nysa Vineyard completes this wine, supplying elegant red fruit and spice. Only Organic & Biodynamic vineyards compose the blend.
Fermented with wild yeasts, aged in 50% new French oak. Unfined & unfiltered.
270 Cases made