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.



Purple Hands logo



A little over a year ago the local wine store brought in the 2010 vintage of this wine and offered it as an e-mail special.  I grabbed a six pack even though I had never had the wine.  After opening and enjoying a bottle, I had to grab six more bottles.  When the store offered the newest vintage a couple weeks ago, grabbing a six pack was a no-brainer.



The Winery

The owner/winemaker is Cody Wright, the son of well-known and popular Oregon winemaker/owner Ken Wright.

Purple Hands winery strives for the expression of genuine inherent terroir of soil and grape.  We search for ideal moments of ripeness and complexity balanced with authentic strength of soil character.

Our wines are windows into dynamic breadths of terroir, extracting and unlocking a code of sweet and savory from our rich Oregon soil.


It was all but inevitable that we’d make our living from the earth.  Cody Wright, our founder and winemaker, was raised by esteemed pioneers of the Oregon wine industry.  He spent childhood days wandering between vineyard rows and moving fermenters with forklifts.  And his wife, Marque Wright, who assists in managing winery business, grew up in southern Oregon amidst timber operations and cattle farms.  Together, they are the soul of Purple Hands.


Cody’s official foray into winemaking took off after he completed a degree in environmental science at the University of Oregon.  He worked in various vineyard management and winemaking roles at Argyle, Ken Wright Cellars, and ROCO.  Abroad, he further honed his craft at Knappstein Winery in Claire Valley, South Australia and Ata Rangi in Martinborough, New Zealand.  In 2005, Cody established Purple Hands as a small boutique winery.  And in ten years’ time—with no small help from Marque—the winery transformed into a cult favorite that produces several thousand cases a year of critically acclaimed wine.

Our winery’s name speaks to a juxtaposition we love: the earthen processes and exquisite products of winemaking.  The toils and stains of working vineyards and crushing grapes lead to the shining bottle on your living room table.  We hope you’ll share our wines with friends and family—and be uplifted by the power of place!



The Vineyard

Stoller Vineyard is situated on the southern flank of the Dundee Hills, with an optimal winegrowing aspect.  The vines are planted on a narrow elevation band—from 300 to 650 feet—on ancient Jory soils, the fertile and well-drained red soils that define the Dundee Hills.  The vineyard is surrounded by protective mountain ranges that provide a slightly warmer microclimate, which ensures consistent ripening from vintage to vintage.


Bill and Cathy Stoller, owners of Stoller Vineyard, bought the former turkey farmland from a cousin in 1993.  In 1995, they planted their first acres in the rocky soil: 10 acres each of pinot noir and chardonnay.  Today, the vineyard is the largest vineyard site in the Dundee Hills—with nearly 200 acres planted to many different varietals and clones.



Purple Hands Vineyard


2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $24.69

There were 700 cases of this 100% Pinot Noir produced.  This is a blend of the 777 and Wädenswil clones.


The wine has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is an intense ruby color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, black cherries, Asian spice, candied violets, stony minerals and dried wildflowers with just a hint of smoke and forest floor.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate this kicks it up a notch with intense dark fruit and spice up front with minerals and dried flowers coming in later.  The finish is very long with some earthiness and a touch of dark chocolate adding even more depth and complexity.  This is very young but already is a showstopper.  This will improve with some additional time in the cellar.  Load up if you can find this at a good price and savor it over the next decade and a half.  (93 pts)

2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard



Closing thoughts

If you have not tried a Pinot Noir from Oregon, I highly recommend grabbing a few bottles to try.  Purple Hands is a great winery to start your journey but if you can’t find one of their wines, ask for suggestions or just grab a bottle or two.  Oregon Pinot Noirs generally are less expensive than their California counterparts.  Grab a bottle and enjoy the ride!




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.


If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.





This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.




***** Shameless Self Promotion *****


Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.






Breaking news from Klout:




Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:


Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.




Remember to support your local wine store!




* * * * * * * * * * * * *


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.