Robert Parker 91
"In the 2009 vintage, Soter Vineyards handled the conditions as well as anyone. The entry-level bottling, the dark ruby-colored 2009 North Valley Pinot Noir was aged in only 10-20% new oak. Potpourri, incense, and bright red fruits inform the nose of a savory, round, nicely balanced wine that will deliver considerable pleasure over the next 6+ years."
Stephen Tanzer 91
"Vivid red. Sexy, floral-accented aromas of raspberry, blackberry, lavender and sassafras. Offers an array of berry and spice flavors that gain weight with air. Cola and bitter cherry qualities carry through on the long, sharply focused finish, which shows a subtle touch of bitter chocolate."
"First and foremost, Tony and Michelle Soter are Pinot Noir lovers.
And as a Pinot Noir lover, Tony has dedicated much of his career to producing versatile, seductively aromatic, and affordable Pinot Noir by blending fruit from numerous sites. His Etude Carneros Pinot Noir has become a beloved staple on restaurant lists across the country, and with the North Valley bottling, he intends to transcend that achievement in Oregon.
This is a strategy that has served Tony so well over the years: aim for excellence and value in a blended Pinot Noir. Blending from multiple sources helps ensure consistency and balance, and can often outshine many single-vineyard wines. In this regard, we feel the North Valley Pinot Noir is a truly compelling value.
We do not buy finished wine for the North Valley blend - rather, we secure contracts with growers and pay them by the acre, not the ton. This method allows the grower to prune for low yields - a practice that hastens the ripening process and enhances flavor concentration in the grapes - without losing money. Our viticulturalist Joel Myers and his team from Vinetenders ensure that our pruning and crop-thinning instructions are followed, and that these vineyards are farmed sustainably. Myers and his team pick the grapes on the date and time that we specify. From that moment on, the wine is made using similar methods as our estate wines.
North Valley Pinot Noir sees less new oak than the flagship wines. It is made in a more accessible and versatile format that will give pleasure early and over the medium term. The wine features notes of orange blossoms, cranberries, blackberries, sweet cream, cocoa, minerals, and has a markedly silky and supple mouthfeel. Long and lush, the wine leaves big, thick tears in the glass and its soft entry invites sip after sip. Pour this wine alongside its peers at the same price - you'll be taken in by its winsome charms and remarkable price/quality rapport. Better yet, pour it against your favorite single-vineyard Oregon Pinot, and understand why North Valley is already featured at some of the finest restaurants in the country. " ~ Winery notes
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In the mid-1980s, Tony Soter began working as a consulting winemaker in the Napa Valley, assisting luminaries such as Araujo, Niebaum-Coppola, Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader and Dalla Valle. In 1982, he established his own winery – Etude – where he focused on Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon of noteworthy caliber and artisan focus. After years of mentoring and encouraging some of Napa Valley's most respected growers and winemakers, he ended his consulting roles to focus exclusively on Soter Vineyards and his family in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Soter's sole Estate vineyard today, Mineral Springs Ranch, is a 240-acre savanna-like oak woodland and grazing land located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. It is the home to 30 acres of Pinot Noir originally planted in 2002. Two acres of Chardonnay were included in the 2006 plantings and are devoted entirely to method champenoise sparkling wine production. Located just east of the town of Carlton, the ranch is perched on a mesa with gentle slopes and commanding views of the surrounding Yamhill-Carlton District. Our production facilities and hospitality buildings are here as well, allowing us complete control of all operations.
Farming Practice:Practicing Organic