2006 Panther Creek Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, OR $12.99

Silverdale, WA    14.3% alc.    (Purchased on 9/26/14)

IMG_1776Just barely hazy medium ruby color with a slight orange tone around the rim, suggesting its eight years of age.  Back label mentions cherry and cola aromas and I heartily concur.  I also detect some root beer and earth.  I’m getting plenty of fruit and no Pinot funk and the nose really starts opening up after about 45 minutes in the glass. Eventually I even got whiffs of sun-dried tomato.  In the mouth, it’s more of the same with ripe, sweet cherry flavors really showing nicely along with subtle black tea notes.  This Pinot has weight too…slightly chewy with medium tannins (for Pinot anyway), it leaves me licking my lips.  Unfortunately it fades quickly and picks up some heat and bitterness in the short finish.  Their current release single vineyard Pinots from Panther Creek are going for $45-$50…out of my range.  So $13 seems a mighty fair price.  Here are some past “community” reviews of this wine.

I’m assuming this is not the Panther Creek PN that’s recently been discussed on our “What’s New” page.  So careful what you purchase.  I suspect this wouldn’t be a favorite of BW and lovers of the more delicate style of Pinots.

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14 thoughts on “2006 Panther Creek Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, OR $12.99

  1. EHL

    Yes…….definitely, different bottles……..had a glass of SB’s Panther Creek Cuvee PN today…….and it reeked of sulfur straight out of the bottle (never experienced such a thing before)…….but it dissipated after 15-20 minutes, and was an interesting wine to drink thereafter.

    I thought it needed more time to straighten itself out and, as Robaire noted later, this bottle is quite a fine, complex PN on the second day……and that he preferred it to all the expensive Hill PN stock. Quite a statement, given the relatively high GO dollars being asked for the Hill Mt. Veeder PN……well over twice the asking price of the Panther.

    Reply
    1. jwc

      I have to concur EHL, brett usually blows off with air & time. Should we see this here in Portland, which is pretty iffy (my wine guy in Beaverton says we’ll see it)…usually high end producers aren’t keen on having there wines at GO, so close to home. I heard rumblings about a new wine maker and national acct sales mgr there several years ago, so this ’10 vintage, must have been what the changes were about. Strictly speculation here, but does seem logical, given the variation in bottles from numerous tasters.

      Reply
    2. jwc

      The 2010 Panther Creek Cuvee Pinot Noir did show up today in Tanasbourne. I picked up a bottle, unfortunately my contact, the son of the owner was incorrect in stating the shipment was going to be the ’09 vintage. I should have known, but that’s another story, for another day…I popped the cork, ran through an airator, into a decanter, took a whiff and immediately thought Good Lord! Like most everyone has said, massive sulfor/rotten eggs on the nose, WOW! Then left it, changed out of the work garb, had some dinner, watched a ridiculous Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore flick, and then revisited the wine, roughly 1.5 hrs later. Poured into a Riedel Oregon Pinot Stem, still smells of some brett, cherry, spice and earth flavors, complex, this is a legit pinot noir. 3 hours later, brett is blowing off, still present, wine is opening up. Tastes like a medium bodied McMinnville pinot noir. Writing this, 4 hours later, the brett has blown off, for the most part, what remains, in my opinion is tasty, and the wine has nice cherry fruit and layers of complexity. Bottom line for me, this wine is obviously flawed, which is how GO, got this buy. The rumblings around here 3 yrs ago with all the winemaker & national acct sales manger changes, make sense now because this wine does not live up to Panther Creek standards. For me, the wine is flawed, the brett is hard to get past, but given time, my bottle improved dramatically, I won’t be returning it, and make go have a third glass right now. I’m giving this a Thumbs Up though ever so lightly, the caveat being, one has to decant this for a couple hours, the flavors and complexity will ideally/hopefully develope. Once that takes place, this wine is enjoyable, and a value at $6.99 here in Portland. One strange happening, but such is the wine world at GO. Air and time, things will work themselves out with the 2010 Panther Creek. It would be so much simpler, if the 2006 Freedom Hill single vineyard designation were here!

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Thanks for conducting this experiment for us. If it were, say, $3.99, this might be a buy for me but I’d rather spend $8.99 for the Hill Carneros.

        Reply
        1. jwc

          Yes SB, my guess is the price will eventually drop to that. I’ts flawed and not worth the hassle/wait for the Brett to disappear, or at least become tolerable. Truly a mixed bag, the fruit and layers of flavor underneath the garbage are quite nice. The point is, its flawed and shouldn’t be there. When I tasted the wine, left in the bottle, w/o any decanting, big difference. In my opinion, not worth the effort. A paradox of a wine in this condition, bummer.

          Reply
      2. EHL

        Hey JWC…….thanks for your thoughts on the Panther PN…….however I wish I had your vintage, not the 2010…….which seems like a real stinker and perhaps beyond redemption, especially in light of SB’s arduous experiment.

        Probably will return it, too……but will report back if a miracle materializes…..

        Reply
      3. EHL

        Oh……sorry, JWC……silly me, I read your comments quickly at first and mistakenly thought you were referring to Lim’s bottle that was reviewed……..so I hope to get lucky like you and will follow your recommendations……..

        Reply
    3. Seedboy

      I did buy a bottle of that Mt Veeder PN. First, it is not flawed. Second, it is a nicely balanced wine that tastes like pinot noir. third, it is not worth twice the price of the other two Hill pinots.

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Hey SB……..I enjoy your pithy observations, but didn’t we have this exchange a few weeks back comparing the merits of the various Hill PNs………but your $sacrifice is appreciated confirming that conclusion………I take it that the recent restock of the Hill Carneros PN was all, long, gone……

        Reply
  2. jwc

    Thanks Lim13, ’06 was a warm vintage in the Willamette Valley. I have ’06’s that are drinking very well now, glad to hear this is too. Sounds to be bigger than many produced in the area, perhaps due to the warmness of the year. Have not seen any Panther Creek as of yet, hoping to see this one.

    Reply
  3. Seedboy

    This is not the wine I opened last night that smelled of sulfur and little else. That was a 2010, I want to say Winemaker’s Cuvee.

    Reply

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