This pinot house has been cranking out incredible wine since 1995, when high-tech biz man Bernard Lacroute saw an ad for Oregon land in the Wine Spectator. 420-acres of cattle land to be precise. Back then, the price for Yamhill dirt wasn’t as offensive as it might be today. Lacroute named the winery after the type of soil found in a majority of the ranch — Willakenzie — known for its good drainage. Their land is sustainably-farmed.
Willakenzie’s pinot noir style is reserved and shy, not over the top with concentrated, full-frontal fruit. The single-vineyard Pierre Leon is even more so. It’s muscular and earthy, light-bodied yet bacon-y, smoky and fruity with cherry and blackberry. Subtle, well integrated flavor, strong acidity and well-integrated (yet quite present) toasty tannins. It’s more of a food wine than a sipping wine. Pair this with any meat featuring mushrooms as its sauce and you’ll be glad you did. Or try it with this recipe for stuffed mushrooms.
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Retail price: $34-$40
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Occasion: Tasted with dinner with my husband, served with grilled duck breast in a broth-based, mushroom sauce. Food didn’t turn out well but the wine rocked. Thankfully.
Tampa folks: It’s locally available at Bern’s Fine Wines and Spirits