Colene Clemens Vineyard 2014 Dopp Creek (Chehalem Mountain) Pinot Noir

Colene Clemens aerial view
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Our friends at Artisan Wine Depot recommended the Colene Clemens Dopp Creek pinot noir. Lush aromas of strawberries and dark fruit. Lush, dense palate of black cherries with bright acid and spicy tannins. Long finish with notes of five spice and more tannins. Artisan’s price: $24.97 a bottle. They have just a few bottles left, but are expecting more soon.

I cannot improve on their website’s description of the winery’s history:

My name is Joe Stark. My wife Vicki and I own Colene Clemens Vineyards and Winery which we named in honor of Vicki’s mother. I grew up in Gaston and met Vicki, a Portland native, when she took the position of librarian at Gaston High School. A chance meeting led to a relationship that has lasted more than forty years now. We have a wonderful son, Aaron, a beautiful daughter, Adriane Jetton, two perfect grandchildren, Max and Margo, and their father, Eric, the best son-in-law in the world.

While growing up, I had worked in my father’s small cabinet shop but had always wanted to have my own business. In 1980 Vicki and I were finally able to make that happen and with time, hard work and good fortune that business grew and prospered. Over the ensuing years we were privileged to be able to develop an appreciation for fine wines, especially Pinot Noir. Of course no one could have imagined when we first met that Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley would prove to be some of the world’s premier property for growing first-class Pinot Noir – right in our own back yard. As we acquired the means, it seemed a natural progression that we would someday develop our own vineyard and winery with the hopes of creating something of natural lasting beauty and value that we could leave to our family.

It took many years of searching for the perfect place to pursue this dream. A very old abandoned farmstead and orchard that had lain fallow for many years would be that place. Possessing ideal aspect (south facing), elevations (350ft to 650 ft) and an array of high quality, proven Pinot Noir soils, not to mention fantastic views, no place could have been better. Even more implausible to us, our vineyard is not two miles from the little rental home where we lived when our first child, Aaron, was born.

From the beginning it has been our goal to do everything possible to make the very best Pinot Noir that we can. No compromise has been made in vineyard preparation, farming practices and wine making. Steve Goff, our gifted and dedicated winemaker and vineyard manager, has utilized the most diligent, time-tested and non-invasive protocols in both the vineyard and winery to further this goal.

Vicki and I, along with Steve and all the others involved with Colene Clemens Vineyards and Winery, look forward to many years in pursuit of the “perfect” Pinot Noir – that illusory, if unattainable, holy grail of winemaking. Salud!

These folks make chardonnay and rosé of pinot noir in addition to their excellent full red pinot noir. Based on this bottle alone, they are must-visit if you’re in the area. Also bug your local wine shop to order some for you.

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About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the West Coast industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. On behalf of fellow Californian oenophiles, he hunts for great pinot noir and great values in pinot noir all along the West Coast. His day job is Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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