On a recent trip to Oregon wine country I had the good fortune to visit many great wineries. One that stood out among my favorites was Styring Vineyards, whose Signature Pinot Noir recently landed on the shelves of ABC. Styring was born in 2003 when husband and wife Steve and Kelley purchased 40 acres of prime vineyard land in the Ribbon Ridge AVA of the Willamette Valley. Their passion is obviously Pinot Noir, but they also make small amounts of Riesling, dessert wine and a Cabernet made from fruit that Steve buys out of the Columbia Valley.
On the morning I visited, Steve and Kelley were very gracious, giving me a tour of their soon-to-be-completed new tasting room and their newly expanded winery. The real treat was getting to taste the full lineup of their wines. On this trip I must have tasted 50 or more different Pinot Noirs made in a variety of styles, and Styring’s were easily as good or better than anything I tasted.
What makes them so special? First, everything is done by hand, with great attention to detail. They also utilize dry farming methods, which means that the non-irrigated Pinot Noir vines have to send their roots down deep in search of water. This produces fruit with great flavor concentration that is reflected in the taste of their wine. Finally, Steve does not believe in “textbook” winemaking, meaning that everything is done on taste and he works with what nature gives him in any given vintage.
For example, in 2013 when heavy rains entered the region, many wineries panicked and picked their grapes way too early for fear of getting a smaller crop. The result? Many made thin, diluted, bland wines that caused many to write off the 2013 vintage as a disaster. Not Steve. He allowed the rains to come and go and the warm, dry weather that followed produced a reduced crop of very high quality grapes. Did he make far less wine in 2013 because of this? Yes. But the wine was delicious.
ABC was fortunate to buy the last few cases of Steve and Kelley’s stellar 2012 vintage Signature Pinot Noir (they only made 175 cases). It is currently available for $34.99, but will not last long. For those who follow the ratings, the 2012 was rated 92 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine with an “Editor’s Choice” designation. If you love Pinot Noir, pick up a bottle next time you visit your favorite ABC store. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Cheers!
Dave Malone, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinedavem