I first heard about Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Noir from my brother. He had come across the bottle at his local wine shop while looking for a Pinot Noir that was in his price range, which was around $20, for a date he had that same night. Knowing nothing about the winery, he had been drawn to the bottle because it was from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and because it fit his budget – he may be a PhD now, but he’s still got some serious education debt!
Quality Pinot Noir in the twenty dollar range is something of a rarity for the Willamette, especially wines in that range that also happen to be pretty widely available across the country. But Elk Cove is a welcomed rarity.
In the glass the wine pours a reddish purple with aromas of cherries, wood and leather. While some Pinots from the Willamette tend to be lighter in style, this one is a bit richer, with a heavier weight imparted by the French oak the wine’s aged in for ten months – though all is lifted and brought into balance by a nice amount of acidity. On the palate there are fresh fruit flavors of cranberries and raspberries balanced by delicate tannins. As the wine opened up, it got better, with more of the nuance coming to the forefront.
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While this is Elk Cove’s entry level Pinot, there is still a lot of quality inside the bottle, delivering much of what Pinot lovers enjoy, especially if they prefer a newer-world style Pinot with richer fruit and heavier oak. It’s perfect for a date night.