Ken Wright Cellars Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
WHY WE LOVE IT
- Shea Vineyard is located in the AVA of Yamhill-Carlton. Originally planted in 1989. This vineyard site sits on 540-600 ft of elevation.
- The vineyards of the Yamhill-Carlton District were planted mostly in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The primary soil of this area is called Willakenzie, named after the Willamette and McKenzie rivers. It is a sedimentary soil with a sandstone base rock. The sand content is quite high and the soil therefore very well drained. The sites are generally on the lower slopes of a volcanic ridge. Wines of the area possess aromas of red and blue fruits, with added elements of cocoa, leather, anise, clove and fresh-turned earth. Acidity levels are generally lower than other regions, prompting these wines to be lush and agreeable in their youth.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Elaboration: Each vineyard, further separated by clones, is hand sorted, fermented in small 1 1/4 ton open vat fermenters until dryness, then pressed and aged separately. The wine is aged in 100% French oak barrels for about 1 year. Each single vineyard designated Pinot noir is made with the same approach so the consumer can truly taste the place in which it was grown.
Tasting Notes: Floral and spice focused. Blue & red fruits of blueberry and raspberry with delicate anise and cola notes. Opulent texture and a luscious mouth feel.
2016 – 93 James Suckling | 94 Wine Spectator | 97 Wine Enthusiast “Editors’ Choice”
2017 – 93 Wine Spectator
2021 – 96 Jeb Dunnuck
The seed for a career in wine was planted squarely in Bourbon country of Lexington, Kentucky. While waiting tables to put himself through school, Ken was exposed to fine wines from regions around the world. The passion became avocation when Ken left the Bluegrass State to attend enology and viticulture classes at UC-Davis. Eight years were spent winemaking for Ventana Vineyards, Chalone and Talbott Vineyards in Monterey County of California’s central coast.
Friends from the Willamette Valley piqued Ken’s interest in the region when they would visit, and a trip to the Dundee Hills in 1976 convinced him that this was where the finest Pinot noir in North America was being grown. In 1986, with family, belongings and 10 barrels in tow, Ken moved to McMinnville and started Panther Creek Cellars.
His concept of focusing on vineyard-designate bottling began during those years at Panther Creek and was cemented as a core philosophy in 1994 when Ken Wright Cellars was founded in historic downtown Carlton. Ken now makes a single vineyard bottling from 13 vineyard sites in the Northern Willamette Valley. Given his appreciation of sense of place, it was a given that Ken would contribute to the locations and industry near and dear to his heart. Instrumental in organizing the six new American Viticultural Area (AVA)’s in the Northern Willamette Valley that define in detail the distinct growing areas within the region, he wrote the proposition for the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and served as the association’s first President.