Just a few short weeks ago, some of you may have remembered that I opened a Seven of Hearts 2010 Chatte d’Avignon GSM blend. For those interested in the blog post, it can be found here. You also may have remembered that Luminous Hills is the other label belonging to Seven of Hearts owner, Byron Dooley. What is the difference between the two you might ask? Both Luminous Hills and Seven of Hearts came about at the same time, though in different stages. The winemaking approach is the same for both, using traditional methods such as native yeast fermentation and whole cluster fermentation. Luminous Hills wines are made from 100% estate fruit, all within the diverse soils of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA whereas; Seven of Hearts wines are made from various vineyards, AVAs, and varietals. Luminous Hills also maintains sustainable farming practices.
Luminous Hills wines are made solely from Pinot Noir with soil consideration being an integral part for producing more elegant and structured wines, with great complexity. During my last trip to Carlton to visit the Seven of Hearts tasting room, Byron poured some of the Luminous Hills Pinot Noir. I fell in love with the 2010 Lux. As part of the wines I was sent recently, I received a Luminous Hills 2011 Rosé of Pinot Noir and a 2010 Pinot Noir. Having some familiarity with the Luminous Hills label already, and the Seven of Hearts label, I was looking forward to tasting both these wines.
Appropriately enough, I started off with the 2011 Rosé of Pinot Noir Aura. The wine gets its special name, “Aura” because it is a distinct expression of the Luminous Hills vineyard just like the other productions, Lux and ASTRA. It is composed of the Pommard and 777 clones.
In the glass, the wine pours a lovely, deep salmon color. The bouquet of the wine is very inviting with aromas of fresh strawberry, watermelon, and passion fruit. On the palate, there are juicy flavors of watermelon, pomegranate, rhubarb, pear, and peach, with a hint of ruby grapefruit. These flavors are beautifully balanced with a burst of fresh acidity. This Rosé is absolutely delicious and each sip was a pure delight. Even in the middle of winter, this wine was perfect on a summer afternoon. For me, there is no specific season for Rosé. It is perfect all year long. I did not pair this wine with anything, however if I were to pair it, it would be with sushi or small plates containing chicken or fish. It would even pair well with curry. The nice thing about Rosé is that it’s so versatile and will pair well with so many things or can be enjoyed on its own. This wine sells for $21 via the winery website. Only 147 cases were made, so definitely get your hands on a few bottles before it’s all gone. This is one Rosé you’ll definitely want to have on hand.
After enjoying the 2011 Rosé of Pinot Noir Aura, it was time to move on to the Luminous Hills 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir. Having tasted through several vintages of Oregon Pinot Noir throughout the past couple years, 2010 continues to be one of my favorite vintages for Oregon Pinot Noir, so I was greatly anticipating tasting this Pinot Noir. The Luminous Hills 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir is composed of the clone selection; 115, 667, 777, and Pomard.
In the glass, the wine pours a deep ruby color with soft pink hues on the rim of the glass. The nose of the wine is very fragrant and floral with aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, nutmeg, and violets. On the palate, you get layers of dark cherry and blackberry followed by a layer of pomegranate and currant to give it a slight tartness. There is a gentle kiss of spice and a long finish. All of this is balanced out by lively acidity. This is a beautifully balanced, elegant Pinot Noir. Another example of why I love the 2010 vintage so much. Generally speaking, Oregon’s 2010 vintage experienced cooler temperatures which gave the wines brighter, more vibrant acidity. This wine paired beautifully with marinated pork tenderloin. The wine sells for $28 per bottle via the winery’s website. There were 329 cases produced, however a Pinot Noir as well made as this one for the price, likely won’t be around for too long so definitely get your hands on at least a couple of bottles.
Both of these wines are two more stunning examples produced by Byron Dooley. If you are looking for some wines to sample out of Oregon’s Willamette Valley or just looking to familiarize yourself with the quality of wines that Oregon produces, do yourself a favor and seek out some wines from Luminous Hills and Seven of Hearts. You will be glad you did.
Be sure to keep an eye out for a future blog post where I explore more wines by Seven of Hearts. Until the next time friends.
* These wines were provided as media samples for review purposes.