At a recent tasting of wines from Anam Cara Cellars I was really struck by their 2008 Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir. It has become one of my favorite values in Oregon Pinot Noir. Now, do not equate value with cheapness. Yes, it’s over 20 bucks. But for the level of complexity and finesse, it is worthy to be called a great value in Oregon Pinot Noir. I’m thinking of how lovely it would be with some grilled salmon and sauteed mushrooms. The Anam Cara has enough weight to handle a rich fish like salmon, and that kind of earthy* complexity that goes so well with mushrooms.
But really I was thinking how great the Anam Cara would be with a sunset on the Oregon coast. The above photo was taken at Manzanita, where a few years ago I was part of a group of friends who rented a house. There was a bit of a chill in the air, but no one was going anywhere until the sun was completely set. Design-wise, the Anam Cara is totally functional for the beach as it is sealed with a screw cap. And a nice, easy-drinking, elegant Pinot Noir (best enjoyed out of a mismatched collection of jelly jars) will be a compliment rather than a distraction like a big bruiser of a palate-clubbing red wine. And if you’re drinking beer, you might find yourself so full of liquid that by the time you make it to the bathroom at the rental and back, you’ve missed significant sunset time. Which would be criminal.
*I wish I could think of a better descriptor than “earthy” because even I always think “earthy” is a euphemism for “dirt-filled flavors.”
I totally agree with you on the Anam Cara Pinot, but I wonder if a better pairing with an Oregon Sunset might not be their 2008 Gewurztraminer dessert wine which is liquid sunshine in a bottle. Unfortunately it is 375ml which makes it hard to share (I always hide it from my wife when I open one). Even after the sun is down this golden nectar keeps the sunshine on you tongue.
You nailed it my friend! Just tasted the Gewurz last night. Pinot while the sun goes down, then the Gewurz.
Thanks for the comment!
You likely know this but Anam Cara is probably my favorite Oregon Pinot Noir producer and has been for a number of years. The 08s are outstanding from Sheila and Nick and the vineyards certainly tell the story of a Chehalem Mtn cooler site, formerly a walnute and hazelnut orchard. Earthen, mossy, terroir driven excellence if you ask me.
Really dug the Vineyard Selection. Very nice Riesling, too. Like the touch of sweetness on it, with lots of lime zest. Reminds me of a mix between a German and an Aussie Riesling. Appreciate the read and the thoughts.
Earthy like loamy, or earthy like ribald? Both seem like good wine words… GREG
Ha! I love earthy like ribald. It’s how I like my jokes and my wine.
Perhaps I’m partial (we distribute Anam Cara in CA) but I find their 2009 Pinot Noirs to be among the best of that challenging warm vintage. The wines are fully flavored and expressive while maintaining pureness, elegance and delicacy.
Well you may be a bit partial, but in my book that does not discount your keen insights. I look forward to enjoying many of the 09s. Thank you for reading and commenting, as well as for spreading the good word about Anam Cara in CA.
the Anam Cara 08 vineyard selection is a great value indeed. It is our house red…and I am from Texas where we drink a heck of a lot of Pinot Noir (with or without food:)
Thanks for the heads up on the dessert wine…will have to check it out.
Thank you for reading and commenting. I bet some Pinot Noir with a slight chill on it is a pretty good red for the Texas heat.
Jameson, we first met via Twitter at the Eric Solomon, Seattle tasting, last year.
Nice to see you writing up one of my favorites! We love Anam Cara and for those who have not tried the wines yet: You will too!
We are the Oregon distributor for Anam Cara but should be breaking into the Seattle and Tri-cities markets by August!
Thanks again, Jameson! See you in the Twitterverse!
Yes, what a great tasting! Glad to hear from so many fans of Anam Cara and best luck as you enter the markets in Washington.
I appreciate you reading and commenting.