Eyrie Vineyards were the first people to plant vines in Oregon. It was back in February 1965 that David Lett planted the very first Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, and since that time the Eyrie Vineyards name has become synonymous with modest yet visionary people, producing some of the region’s most elegant and long-lived wines.
Today, little has changed, bar perhaps better understanding of what makes these wines so unique. There remains a deep connection between the work in the vines and the wines in the cellar. Jason, David’s son, has been at the helm since 2005 and has made minor tweaks that contribute to greater precision in the wines, but little else. A gentle-touch approach in the vineyards (none of the Eyrie vineyards have ever been fertilized; cover crops provide nutrient balance) is carried through into the winery. Fermentations are spontaneous, extractions are still exceptionally gentle, the whites see skin contact and extended lees ageing, and new oak usage in the cellar remains tiny. In an average year, just 5 or 6 new barrels are introduced to the 300 in the cellar. Some of the casks are ancient indeed.
All of this adds up to a precise and detailed approach that is only ever delicately applied. The resulting style of the wines, across whites and reds, is one governed by this patient, hands-off winemaking and articulated in a series of gentle and elegant, yet generous and famously age-worthy wines. Power is eschewed in favor of refinement, force makes way for nuance. The wines offer glorious textures and full bodies but also a calm caressing complexity.