Wine & Spirits

24 Feb 2021

Pinot Noir from Hawaii?

Pinot Noir from Hawaii?

Author: Vintage Wine  /  Categories: Wine & Spirits, Wine  /  Rate this article:
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2017 Fil Pinot Noir $41.99

Fil Pinot Noir comes from Willamette Valley and is a made by Hawaii’s own Master Sommelier Roberto Viernes. Viernes travels to Oregon a couple of times a year to select the different components he blends into his Pinot Noir. The blend can come from different vineyards in different AVAs and from various clones of Pinot Noir. It takes skill and experience to be able blend Pinot Noir from 5 vineyards and probably a half a dozen grape clones. While Viernes has only been making Fil since the 2015 vintage, he certainly has a good palate and his idea of what kind of Pinot Noir he likes. For experience, Viernes relies on the advice from Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Vosne Romanee’s Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair. Blending, especially for Pinot Noir, allows a winemaker to meld strengths from one component with different strengths of another component to make a superior wine. For instance one vineyard site may be aromatic but lacking acid, and if it is blended with another site that has good fruit and acid, then the resulting blend will likely be a more complete wine than if you kept the two as individuals. It is a fun and cerebral task that can only help Viernes be a better sommelier.

2017 Fil Pinot Noir has a bit of both New World and Old World as you expect from Viernes. It has the concentration and the pure, ripe cherry fruit you would typically find from a New World Pinot Noir, and it has the soft texture, silkiness and balance you see from the Old World. It is bold and balanced at the same time. It has the requisite mild spice, earth and vanilla/oak from French barrels that is associated with good Pinot Noir. It is perfectly fine to drink now, but it would be interesting to see it develop in 5-7 years. Viernes recommends classic Pinot Noir matches such as salmon and duck for his wine.

Fil is at a an affordable price for good Oregon Pinot Noir, but don’t wait too long to give it a try because Viernes only made four barrels (100 cases). While the previous vintages have been sold mostly at some of Hawaii’s fine restaurants it is now available at Vintage Wine Cellar for the first time.

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