“Premier Cru quality Pinot at a Village level price tag from a winemaker trained at Domaine Drouhin”
When I contacted Ayres’s Winemaker Brad McLeroy about importing his wine into Ontario, I was sure I would never hear back. After all, his website was quite clear: “we are, unfortunately, sold out.” But as a longtime lover of his elegant and shockingly well-priced wines, I could not resist trying. When he responded saying there might be a few cases available, I was soon on a plane to Oregon and committing to buying as much as I could of this incredibly special wine. It’s a small batch, top single-vineyard bottling from a region-defining producer. If you’re looking for deeply polished, sublimely aromatic pinot noir crafted at the highest level, look no further. Quantities are extremely limited.
Ayres Vineyard and Winery is an artisanal, family operation in which sustainability and respect for the land is built into everything they do. After working as the Chef du Cave at the Oregon estate of famed Burgundy house Domaine Drouhin, winemaker and owner Brad McLeroy jumped fulltime into winemaking at Ayres in 2006. Their vineyards are dry farmed, have never been subjected to pesticides or herbicides, and are Certified Sustainable by LIVE as well as certified Salmon Safe. Today, three generations of Brad’s family live on the vineyard.
Lewis Rogers Lane is both the name of the mountain road you drive up to reach Ayres’ boutique winery and the name of their own estate vineyard. This wine blends each of the Pinot Noir clones (667, 777, 115, 113, Pommard) from this vineyard and is fermented with natural yeast with a small amount of whole cluster fruit. The wine aged for around a year in oak, only 15% of which was new or second use.
The quality Ayres’ Ribbon Ridge terroir is far from a secret: despite being Oregon’s smallest AVA, Ribbon Ridge is packed with Blue Chip producers. Besides Ayres, Beaux Freres, Bergstrom, and Trisaetum all call this tiny mountain ridge home. Characterized by rolling hills interspersed with vineyards, pine, and oak trees, Ribbon Ridge is a unique geological area, rising like an island off the valley floor and surrounded by the higher Chehalem Mountains. This unique position shields Ribbon Ridge from rain and other extremes, giving the vineyards a longer, drier, and more moderate growing season than surrounding parts of the valley. The soil of Ribbon Ridge, a marine sediment known as Willakenzie soil, is well draining and nutrient poor. This naturally keeps yields much lower than on the valley floor and means the roots have to dig deep to find nutrients and water, significantly improving the quality of the fruit. Willakenzie soils are also known to bring out the blue and black fruit notes that characterize the wines of Ribbon Ridge.
After a short decant, serve Ayres’ Lewis Rogers Lane in Burgundy stems and prepare for captivating aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, violets, forest floor, and sweet oak spice. It’s medium bodied with great balance and finesse. I could continue piling on the superlatives, but I’ll keep it short: Oregon pinot noir of this depth and refinement is almost guaranteed to cost triple digits, making this wine feel like a relative steal. We were only able to secure an allocation of 8 cases, so please act fast snag one for yourself! Limit 12 bottles per customer.
Insider Wine is a licensed Ontario agent (AGCO). According to LCBO regulations, Insider Wine does not sell beverage alcohol, but rather facilitates the purchase and delivery of beverage alcohol from the LCBO. Prices are listed per bottle and are inclusive of LCBO markup, freight, duties and taxes as well as an agency fee. Retail prices are exclusive of HST and Refundable Bottle Deposit.
Orders typically ship within 3 days and should arrive within 5 business days.