The Best Vintage and the Best Barrels
Don Lange’s pioneering efforts with barrel fermentation made him a Pinot Noir king in the eyes of astute observers, and the Lange Estate winery hauled in “Winery of the Year” accolades from Wine & Spirits Magazine in 2012. The critical acclaim points directly to Don and Wendy’s son, winemaking wunderkind Jesse Lange, who took over in 2004. The 2014 Lange Estate Winery Pinot Noir Reserve continues the property’s cavalcade of accolades. James Suckling awarded it 94 points praising the “striking purity of fruit,” “full body,” and its “firm silky tannins.”
Jesse’s meticulously selected Point Noir grapes undergo daily punch-downs over two weeks, which enhances concentration, before Lange captures all the free-run juice and employs his “spice rack” — individually selected French oak barrels to complement each lot. The “Reserve” blend is then painstakingly culled from the very best barrels in the cellar.
The result is a Reserve that showcases a grand cross-section of the region’s engaging microclimates — and there was no better year than 2014 to glean the wonders of an exceptional vintage. Structurally, the 2014 goes head to head with the banner 2008 and 2012 vintages — each hailed as the best ever, until the 2014s came along — with even more black fruit and brooding structure.
Don and Wendy Lange had the right pieces in place when they launched Lange Estate in 1987. They had 30 acres which were planted to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay vines within a year. Their property in the Dundee Hills in northeast Willamette Valley had a killer view of the Cascades. They also had a goal to produce high-quality Pinot that normal folk could afford. 30 years and 30 additional acres later, with Jess at the helm, it’s safe to say they hit that last goal hard.