Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Review
Address: 15771 Ribbon Ridge Rd. Newberg,Oregon 97132.
Phone Number: 503-554-5545
Tasting Hours: Fri-Sun 11:00-5:00
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 5/3/2014
Reviewer: Rob Boss
(Photos by Jai Soots)
Driving up to Penner-Ash Cellars is quite simply breathtaking. Without a doubt, the striking structure is one of the most beautiful wineries in Oregon, America, and possibly the world. Clean lines, bright, open spaces and vaulted ceilings are all part of a world class winemaking operation. The gravity flow winery is designed for serious production. Likewise, the tasting room fluidly accommodates tremendous customer traffic. There were four tasting room attendants on duty when we visited. Nobody missed a beat on that very busy Sunday, with the one exception of trying to pour without removing a cap, which brought good natured ribbing from the tasters. These guys were full on professionals, even though they were slammed.
Our flight began with a 2012 Reisling, which showed a bright, citrusy, tangerine nose. Zingy lemon and orange flavors followed, with a nice, food-ready acidity. This was followed by the 2012 Hyland Riesling. There was a rich orange zest and peach nose. Big pear flavors followed, with bright acidity to give it a long, lemony finish. Take your pick on any summer dayyou won’t be disappointed with either of them.
Now to the stars of the show, Pinot Noirs. The always popular Shea Vineyards (2011 vintage) offered a nose full of crushed fruit and briars. Black and blue fruit flavors followedreally dark fruitplum, cherry and currants. The flavors were intense and will become even more distinct and focused over time. The Dussin Pinot Noir from the same vintage had a briary, almost “weedy” noseintense, excitingthat led into a palette of gorgeous blackberries, raspberries, cherries, red and black plums. But then the sticker shock set in: these wines were priced at $65 and $60, respectively. The quality is there, and many people connect with these winesthey’re distinct. To those people, it’s worth the price, and they keep the winery sold out every vintage. But these are not bargains. They’re trophies; prestigious ones, at that.
More reasonable but still pricey, the 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir had a spicy nose, with cherries and berries. The rich, soft, silky cherry flavors lingered for a good long while.
Last up was a bonus pour of the 2012 Zena Crown, made from Eola-Amity fruit. Although a little shy that day, the nose still had a lot of crushed and cooked fruit, and cherry pie notes. Black plum and black cherry flavors unfolded and lingered on the palette. This is a lovely expression of the Eola-Amity appellation, with its unique “tension” between structure and acidity. Understated as it was that day, this one will evolve to something breathtaking. Again, a little spendy at $65. Even so, all of these wines will connect with a particular tasterand have, which has pushed the price upand the one that does will rock their world.
Penner-Ash Cellars is a world class producer and first rate destination, both in glamorous appearance and premium product. It’s important to remember that at this price point, wines don’t get better, just differentor at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Everyday drinkers these are not. These wines are investment quality and if they really flip your burger, they’re worth every nickel. Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash have built a devoted following over the years because they know what they’re doing. Add in the tasting room experience and it might be enough to seduce you into (raiding your children’s college fund and) taking more home than you intended. But the worst thing about that is having a box full of really great wine well, that’s not a bad thing at all!