A few quick thoughts on the 2017 Four Graces Pinot noir from the Willamette Valley.
Paula Marie and Steven Black named Four Graces in Dundee after their four daughters when they founded the estate in 2003. Legendary Oregon winemaker Laurent Montalieu (Bridgeview, WillaKenzie, Solena, Kudos and Westmount) crafted Four Graces’ early vintages-which quickly captured acclaim.
In 2014, the winery became part of the Foley Family’s extensive portfolio of brands that includes nearly two dozen wineries in California, Oregon, Washington and New Zealand.
Owned by Bill Foley, who also owns the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, the holdings of Foley Family Estates includes many well-known names such as Chalone Vineyards, Chalk Hill, EOS, Firestone, Guenoc, Lancaster Estate, Merus, Roth, Butterfield Station and Sebastiani as well as Foley-Johnson in Napa. In the Pacific Northwest, Foley also owns Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla and Acrobat in Oregon–acquired from King Estate in 2018.
Today, the heart of Four Graces are two sustainably farmed estate vineyards. The Foley Family Vineyard, located in Dundee, covers 110 acres on red volcanic soils with a few parcels biodynamic. The 90-acre Doe Ridge Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton is planted on marine sedimentary soils.
The Willamette Valley Pinot is a blend of plots from the two vineyards. The wine sees around nine months in French oak with about 15% of the barrels being new.
Medium-intensity nose of red fruit-cherries, cranberry and raspberries. A little earthy component around the edge but somewhat muted.
On the palate, the earthiness comes out more with a mix of forest and garden herbs. It’s a bit Burgundian with medium-plus acidity, firm medium tannins and a medium body. The red fruit carries through but, overall, the wine feels fairly shy and tight. Moderate finish introduces spice components (cinnamon and clove) that suggest potential.
Usually with WV entry-level Pinots ($25-30), the wines are ready to go on release. But this Four Graces really needs some time.