A 96-Point Goldilocks Vintage in Oregon
The 2014 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir is what happens when a pioneering Willamette Valley family has all the cards stacked in their favor. Wine Enthusiast has said Ponzi wines are “some of the most elegant wines in the world.” Wine Spectator says “all Oregon Pinot Noirs are measured against the Ponzi yardstick.” Mix in Willamette Valley’s 2014 “Goldilocks” 96-point vintage — courtesy of Spectator — and a showstopping Pinot Noir harvest, and you have the recipe for perfection from the Ponzis. Wine Enthusiast called this riveting “Editors’ Choice” “round and full-bodied” and “ready to enjoy now and over the next couple years” — it’s a “doozy.”
Dick and Nancy Ponzi know a thing or two about perfecting Pinot. Moving their family to the Willamette Valley in the late 1960s (after many research trips to Burgundy), they pioneered Pinot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris wines in the region from their small, 20-acre farm, eventually establishing Ponzi Vineyards in 1970. The family’s second generation carries on the quality with winemaker Luisa Ponzi and president Maria Ponzi. The grape hasn’t fallen far from the vine.
Luisa grew up working in the vineyards, and when her father invited her to work in the winery lab, she left her pre-med studies behind. She furthered her wine education in Beaune, at the center of France’s Burgundy winemaking region, and apprenticed with Christophe Roumier at the legendary Domaine Georges Roumier. She returned to the Willamette Valley in 1993, continuing on the family tradition of producing superb Pinot in her home state.
Ponzi has what seems like a standing appointment on Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 list, among the numerous accolades heaped upon their wines over the decades. Wine Enthusiast says “Ponzi wines are considered some of the most elegant wines in the world, and certainly have helped put Oregon on the wine map.”
No wonder that Luisa and her Ponzi team were poised to take full advantage of the perfect 2014 vintage, Spectator’s stunning 94- to 97-point season, the warmest year on record. Luisa wisely began harvesting at the beginning of September, picking ripe — but not overripe — pristine, clean fruit. Pinot Noir from Ponzi’s sustainably farmed Aurora and Avellana vineyards comprises most of the blend, while Luisa also sources fruit from a handful of exceptional sites within Willamette.