2008 Proprietary Red
The 2008 vintage started off wet and cooler than average thus delaying bud break by two weeks. Summer temperatures were average with the high heat only arriving in early to mid-August. Sporadic rain continued throughout the summer which was unusual. Things cooled off after the third week in August, leading to perfect ripening weather through the whole month of September and was only interrupted by three days of rain in the beginning of October which delayed ripening. A hard frost arrived the last week in October, ending the vintage. It’s hard to put this vintage in perspective since it was our first to put into bottle, but judging by the wines, it was a good one. Both blends have fine layered tannins and exhibit verve and concentration with a full palette of flavors and aromas.
89% Cabernet Sauvignon
2% Petit Verdot
41% Red Mountain
38% Horse Heaven Hills
21% Walla Walla
21% Seven Hills
2% Canoe Ridge Estate
20 months in new (41%), single use (28%) and neutral (31%) French oak barrels
September 27 – October 21, 2008
161 cases of 750mL bottles
Thick and dark with ripe blackberry, plum and cassis; concentrated, rich and deep; showing chocolate, tar and spice; a wine of profundity and exceptional quality; actually a very good value at this price.
This Oregon winery sources fruit for its Proprietary Red from top Washington vineyards on Red Mountain, in Walla Walla and in the Horse Heaven Hills. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (it could be labeled as such), it packs its rich raspberry, blueberry and black currant fruit into a precisely-defined, balanced and persistent wine with plenty of power. (Paul Gregutt)
Pamplin Family Winery is located in Dundee, Oregon, although all of the winery’s fruit comes from Washington. Owner Robert Pamplin, Jr. has one of the Pacific Northwest’s more unique stories. Robert Henry serves as winemaker. Pamplin’s 2008 JRG Red Wine was one of my big surprise wines from last year. This Bordeaux-style blend is an absolutely beautiful, understated wine that is worth seeking out. It is also, at $30, quite well priced considering the level of quality. Pamplin, however, is truly dedicated to the production of a single wine, its Proprietary Red Wine, with the JRG made from declassified barrels. There is no doubt that the family is committed to quality. All of the wine form 2007 went to the JRG program when they felt it wasn’t quite at the quality level they wanted. The 2008 Proprietary Red Wine is therefore Pamplin’s first release of its flagship wine. To call it a stunner would be somewhat misleading, although it is – quietly –stunning. This is a subdued, understated wine. The flavors are compellingly subtle. The oak is pleasantly dialed back. Impressively, it was quietly humming along, even after twenty-four hours of decanting.
2008 Proprietary Red Wine 5 Stars ~ Exceptional – Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report
Dark ruby. Aromatically closed up initially, this wine opens to reveal blue and black fruit, spices and light herbal notes. The palate is polished, soft and textured, refined and elegant. This is a very, very pretty wine in a style seldom seen in these parts. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot. Klipsun, Wallula, Seven Hills and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards. Aged 20 months in French oak (41% new). 14.7% alcohol. 161 cases produced. (Sean Sullivan)
Pamplin has produced a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot that is dark in color and closed up very tightly at present with aromas of raspberries, pencil lead, rose hips and pepper. The palate shows both a lushness and a restrained elegance. Give it two years in the cellar to develop. (SeanSullivan)
Overwhelmingly Cabernet Sauvignon, with 7% Malbec plus smidgeons of Petit Verdot and Merlot, Pamplin’s 2008 Proprietary Red features cassis, huckleberry and juniper along with high-toned suggestions of mint and pungent brown spices. Proprietor Robert Pamplin; son-in-law and winery president Art North; and Finger Lakes native, winemaker Robert Henry collaborate on just two Bordeaux blends sourced primarily from Seven Hills, Klipsun and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards. (Pamplin is also the proprietor of Anne Amie, the former Chateau Benoit winery in the Willamette Valley, which helps explain Pamplin Family Winery’s Oregon address). (David Schildknecht)