FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

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Archery Summit Estate Oregon Pinot Noir 2002Since Gary Andrus founded the winery in 1993, Archery Summit has released a succession of superbly aromatic and intensely flavored Pinot Noirs from its four vineyards, which comprise approximately 100 acres in the Red Hills, near Dundee, Ore. Now under the supervision of winemaker Anna Matzinger, this remarkable family of wines draws its character from Dijon and Pommard clones that, in the ocean-cooled climate of the Willamette Valley, render some of the earthy character associated with Burgundy. Yet Archery Summit’s interpretations of this grape not only exhibit the subtle structural elements of Burgundy, but also the bounty of berry fruit that has become the signature style of the New World. The 2002 vintage of the Archery Summit Estate, which comes from the original 16-acre vineyard, displays the latter in profusion. The color is a vibrant maroon with ruby highlights that presage the clouds of blackberry, currant, dark chocolate, and wood smoke that unfurl on the nose. The scent of ruby red grapefruit also presents itself, as does a hint of tobacco and dried meat. The palate mirrors this diversity, adding cherry, lingonberry, and plum jam to the mix, along with a suggestion of game meat. Though young and still tight, this powerhouse will yield delectable dividends over the coming decade. ($150)



Dolce 2001

“Dólce far niènte” (or “It’s sweet to do nothing”) was the motto of the original 1885 vineyard in Oakville, Calif., known as Far Niente. The late Gil Nickel, one of Napa Valley’s 20th-century pioneers, resurrected the historic property in 1979, refurbishing its century-old stone winery and replanting the property predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines. A progressive farmer with a profound respect for tradition, Nickel preserved the property’s name and, later, adopted the first half of its motto as the name for his now-famous dessert wine, Dolce. A late-harvest masterpiece since its first vintage, 1985, Dolce is a very American response to the French winemaking traditions of Sauterne and Barsac. Consisting of 90 percent Semillon and 10 percent Sauvignon Blanc, the 2001 vintage of this botrytized wine has a concentrated nose of jasmine, orange blossom, and fresh honey. Once tasted, the wine progresses from candied citrus, pear, and apricot to a delightful medley of exotic fruits. An essential finale to a summer evening. ($75, 375 ml)

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