Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.



Crowley logo



I’ve been actively buying and trying every Oregon Pinot Noir that shows up on the local wine store’s shelf.  This was a new one for me when it showed up a few weeks ago.  With a price of just a touch over $20, this was also an easy purchase. Oregon Pinot Noirs are a great alternative to the bigger bodied versions coming out of California.



The Winery

When you don’t have a chateau or castello or even a babbling brook, it can be hard to name your winery. We tossed around a few catchy names, but none of them were as timeless as the single thing we started with — our name.


It was good enough for the dairy owned by our family for three generations and it suited us just fine. When we started thinking about the label, we knew we wanted a design crafted with classic elements. And in looking for an image to anchor the label we were intrigued by a cigar box that had belonged to Tyson’s grandfather, Kelly. While it now held photographs rather than cigars, there was this keyhole. So we took the box over to our friend Ben Burch, an animator and fine artist, and he whipped up a few sketches.


We had found our crest.



We make the wines at the August Cellars coop winemaking facility, and we get this question all the time: what’s a winemaking coop?


Our winemaking coop is a state-of-the-art gravity flow winery. We even have a wind turbine (the first in Oregon wine country) that provides about 65% of the power needed at the winery. We “share” the winemaking equipment (hoppers, destemmer, bottling line, labeler, forklifts, etc.) with five other wineries.


All winemaking is done independently and we have separate underground barrel rooms where we age all the wines. We’d love to show you around, so be sure to make an appointment and visit us at the winery!





2012 Crowley Pinot Noir – $21.37

This wine uses grapes from four dry-farms vineyards, Tuckwilla Vineyard (44%), Four Winds Vineyard (35%), Gehrts Vineyard (10.5%) and Laurel Hood Vineyard (10.5%).  The Gehrts and Tuckwilla vineyards are in the Dundee Hill AVA, Four Winds is in McMinnville and Laurel Hood is in the Chehalem Mountains AVA.


The grapes were harvested from October 5 to October 10.  Most grapes were de-stemmed but about 5% whole cluster were used.  After a 10 day cold soak, the wine was underwent a “native fermentation” in tank for 20 days.  The finished wine was aged in oak barrels, 10% to 15% new, for 15 months.  Some barrels were racked once the others were not racked.


The total production was 400 cases.  The wine has a suggested retail price of $24.


The wine has 13.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color, considerably darker than most Oregon Pinot Noirs.  The spellbinding nose has black cherries, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, mint, baking spices, raspberries, candied violets, with hints of licorice, dried herbs and underbrush.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate minerals and white pepper are joined with darker fruit on the front end with spices, dried herbs and subtle earthiness coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with line balance between the fruit and savory elements.  I’d love to stash a few bottles of this in the cellar for a couple years, it could be a real stunner with some cellar time.  For now, give it some air and taste the potential.  (92 pts)

2012 Crowley Pinot Noir

2012 Crowley Pinot Noir



Closing thoughts

Obviously, since this is my wine of the week, I highly recommend tracking down this wine.  The great price would make this a good candidate to buy a few bottles so you can follow its evolution over the next few years.



Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.


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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.