Laurent Montalieu continues to make great wines. Despite selling Soléna Estate to Jackson Family Wine Estates in 2013, Laurent has remained on board as winemaker (For a bit of history on this winery, you can check out our previous review of the 2013 Reserve Pinot)   Since he is resolutely French, many folks think he came to Oregon from Burgundy, like most other French winemakers have. He’s actually from the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe and has been working in Oregon since 1987. First at Bridgeview VIneyards then at WillaKenzie Estate. By 1995, we was working as head winemaker.  These days, he’s opening up wineries like most of us order pizza. This year, it’s Hyland Estate and Westmount.

Okay, onto the wine. At under $20, this is a must-have bottle of Pinot Noir. On the nose, classic bramble and wild strawberry with just a hint of jasmine. The palate offers up a ripe texture with a clean CO2 freshness that keeps the perception of acidity high and mighty. Flavors of smoked cloves, Kola nut, and raspberries are lovely. Flavors progress into a finish of herbal tea, strawberries and burnt roses.