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June Wine of the Month: 2011 Cardwell Hill Cellars Estate Bottled Pinot Noir

Tiedemann on Wines’ June Wine of the Month is a new world pinot noir wine from the Willamette Valley in Oregon produced by Cardwell Hill Cellars.

Cardwell Hill Cellars is a family-owned boutique winery, producing over 5,000 cases per year. Stan Minden, wine buyer at Chalet Party Shoppes, and I had a wonderful time tasting and reviewing this wine for you.

Willamette Valley is located in western Oregon and is one of the United States’ most important non-California AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). The Willamette Valley is known for producing pinot noir wines. These pinots are often compared to the wines of Burgundy, France.

One of the fun and interesting things about tasting wines with Stan is his great knowledge of wines. It is no secret that my palate is heavily tilted toward more fruit-forward red wines sometimes referred to as “fruit bombs.”

After we had been discussing the 2011 Cardwell pinot for a while Stan said, “You may not like this wine as it isn’t your style. It is more of a Burgundian-style Pinot.”

I always learn something new when I taste wine with Stan. This time I learned the term “Burgundian.”

June 11, 6:30 p.m. – Uptown Kitchen, Granger
Eric Kent wine tasting with small plates. There will be various food stations around the restaurant where you can taste delectable dishes from Uptown Kitchen along with the Eric Kent Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, the Eric Kent Russian River Chardonnay, the Eric Kent Barrel Climber Grenache, the Eric Kent Bennett Valley Syrah and the Eric Kent Small Town Pinot Noir. For reservations, call 574-968-3030.

June 23, 6:30 p.m. – Lucchese’s, Elkhart
Round 2 of the craft beer versus boutique wine competition. This will be the second face-off between Tiedemann Wines and Iechyd Da Brewing Company. Who will win? Come out and let your vote be counted. For reservations, call 574-522-4137.

Just in case you are also unfamiliar with the term, here are the basics. Pinot Noir grapes from Burgundy, like those from Oregon, grow in a much cooler climate. Typically wines produced in these cooler climates are less fruit forward and lean more toward red fruit flavors, more acidity and minerality. These wines will have stronger aromas and tastes of stone fruits or forest floor and these wines will also be lighter in color.

In contrast, new world wines – those from North and South America and Australia – exhibit more fruit aromas and flavors and favor dark fruit opposed to light fruit. They will be full-bodied and darker in color. So if a new world pinot noir is on the lighter side and favors a French Burgundy, it can be referred to as Burgundian.

The question is, which do you prefer? The Burgundian style, which is more restrained and elegant with subtle acidity and minerality (flavors of mushroom/more earthy)? Or the more California-style pinots that are fuller bodied, darker in color, fruit forward with less minerality and have aromas and flavors of red hanging fruit? The fun thing about tasting wines is that YOU always get to be the judge.

We have established this is a lighted-bodied pinot noir (Burgundian-style). The color of the wine was a light cherry red color. The nose of the wine was mild and restrained, offering small hints of red fruit. On the palate the wine was balanced across the tongue and had flavors of mild red fruits such as red cherries. On the finish there was a burst of acidity, causing a strong hot feeling in the mouth and spicy lingering finish. The mouth feel was dry (due to the acidity) and mild with a nice aftertaste.

Wine Spectator magazine rated the wine at 91/100 points. rated it at 89/100. The wine sells for $24.99 at Chalet Party Shoppes.

This was a fun wine to taste and if you like Burgundy-style wines, this is a good one to try. Stan and I will select another wine to taste soon and I’ll report on that wine in one of my blog posts in July.

As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends.

Until next week,

For more wine tasting tips and recommendations from Carl Tiedemann, and to find out how to join the Tiedemann On Wines wine club, visit

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