The Eyrie Vineyards
|The Eyrie Vineyards|
|Location||McMinnville, Oregon, USA|
|Appellation||Willamette Valley AVA|
|Key people||David Lett|
|Known for||Pinot noir|
|Varietals||Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Pinot Meunier|
|Distribution||USA, Canada, England, Japan, Korea|
|Tasting||open to public|
The Eyrie Vineyards is an American winery in Oregon that consists of 49 acres (20 ha) in several different vineyards in the Willamette Valley. The vineyards and winery were established by owner and winemaker David Lett, who produced the first Pinot gris in the United States. Against the advice of viticultural professors at the University of California, Davis, Lett and his wife, Diana, moved to Oregon to plant Pinot noir in 1965. They founded Eyrie Vineyards in 1966, and their first vintage was 1970.
The 1975 Eyrie Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir won tenth place among Pinot noirs in blind tasting at the Wine Olympics in 1979.
Burgundy winemaker Robert Drouhin organized a re-match at Maison Joseph Drouhin in France. The 1975 Eyrie Vineyards Reserve won second place, losing to Drouhin's 1959 Chambolle-Musigny by only two tenths of a point. Drouhin later purchased land in Oregon and built Domaine Drouhin Oregon.
Over the years, David Lett (known locally as "Papa Pinot") maintained a light-handed style of Pinot noir that did not follow the trend toward greater flavor, tannin, and color extraction, believing color not to be an indicator of quality in Pinot noir. This put him at odds with some of the wine critics. David Lett died on October 9, 2008 from heart failure. David's son Jason Lett is now the head winemaker for the winery.
The Eyrie Vineyards estate vineyards are part of the sub-American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Willamette Valley AVA known as the Dundee Hills. The winery itself is in McMinnville, which annually hosts the International Pinot Noir Celebration on the last weekend in July on the campus of Linfield College.
- Cole, Katherine (2008-07-01). "'Papa Pinot' looks back over 40 years of Oregon winemaking". The Oregonian (Oregon Live LLC).
- Kinssies, Richard (2008-07-01). "Wine Pick Of The Week: 2006 The Eyrie Vineyards Oregon Pinot Gris ($18)". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Newspapers).
- The Eyrie Vineyards (official website)