Oregon wine country revisited, part 12

Website: www.westrey.com

Westrey is a small winery (5000 cases) based in McMinnville. It was founded in 1993 by Amy Wesselman and David Autrey (above), who make the wines together.

David Autrey first got into wine in 1987. He was deep in the middle of studies at Reed College, and John Paul of Cameron Winery moved into the house next door. 1987 was a big harvest, and John Paul pulled David in as temporary help. He went on to do more vintage work with Cameron and Adelsheim in subsequent years.

In 1991 Amy and David went to Burgundy to work the harvest. She did vintage with L’Arlot, and she did it with Dujac. In 1992 Amy began working with Bethel Heights, and David did some pick-up jobs, as well as working part time in wine retail.

Bethel Heights proved to be good mentors to Westry, whose first vintage was in 1993. Amy and David ended up working 10 vintages with Bethel Heights while building up their own project. Amy did a stint as executive director at the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) between 1998 and 2007. In 2000 Westry bought a vineyard called Oracle, and built this up to 19 producing acres. But running a vineyard is expensive, and in 2011 Amy returned to her position with the IPNC in order to help with the finances.

Interesting fact: David says that heat-treated virus-free clones of Pinot Noir can lose some of their character. You can go from a fantastic clone that is slightly virused to one that produces too much when its clean. Sometime stem pit or leaf roll virus isn’t a problem.

Winemaking is quite natural with all indigenous yeasts and no temperature control. David says he’s looking for an aqueous extraction, not an alcoholic one, so doesn’t do post-ferment macerations.


Westrey Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 Oregon
Saignée rosé. Lively, fresh and dry with some texture. Bright cherries and herbs. A rich style. 87/100

Westrey Pinot Gris 2012 Oregon
This comes from a 35 year old vineyard, and it’s aged in stainless steel on gros lees. Lively and textured with nice bright lemon notes as well as rich apples. There’s some fine spiciness, too. Broad in the mouth with lots of dimensions. 91/100    

Westrey Chardonnay 2010 Oregon
Six barrels, one new. Complex, lively and expressive with ripe apples and pears, peaches, nuts and complex dough and honey notes. Real personality: has richness and maybe even a hint of raisin. 93/100    

Westrey Chardonnay Reserve 2012 Oregon
35 year old vines, a selection massale from Draper Ranch in Calistoga. Powerful, rich but fresh with spicy, ripe apple fruit, subtle toast, some citrus and a distinct nuttiness. Rounded and mealy with real finesse. 93/100    

Westrey Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 Oregon
Lively, fresh and vivid with cherries and plums and a savoury, spicy edge. Really sappy and bright with lovely focus. Ripe yet restrained, this is lively and expressive. 94/100   

Westrey Reserve Pinot Noir 2011 Oregon
12 year old vines, 777 clone, 7 barrels. Lovely focus here with bright cherry and raspberry fruit. Lovely grip, good acidity and some stern raspberry notes with structure behind. Fresh and linear with great purity. 94/100    

Westrey Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Oregon    
Some earth and spice savouriness leads to structured raspberry and cherry fruit. Distinctive, savoury and a bit earthy. 93/100

Westrey Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 Oregon
Bright fresh cherries and spice with some herbs. Tannic and lively with some grip and attractive red cherry and raspberry fruit. Needs time. 93/100    

Westrey Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010 Oregon
Usually a declassification, this is 100% Oracle in 2010, mainly from five year old vines. Focused and lively with cherries and herbs, and nice chalky structure. Nice weight with good acidity. Supple and elegant with a hint of pepper. 93/100   

Westrey Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012 Oregon
Vivid, fresh and ripe with sweet cherries and berries. Very forward and juicy with good structure and density. Lively and spicy with keen acidity. This has purity and structure. 92/100    

Westrey Justice Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
This is from a 1.4 acre block planted with 777 clone on volcanic soils. Very focused, lively and linear with lovely cherry and raspberry fruit. So fine and expressive with good tannins and amazing precision and concentration. Real potential. 95/100    

Westrey Abbey Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Dundee Hills, Oregon
Vineyard planted in 1977 with Cory clone. Ultrafine particle clay soils with lots of iron. Fine, pure aromatics with lovely texture on the palate. Supple, bright red fruits with some sappy hints. Elegant, graceful and quite lovely, with a taut personality. 95/100    

Johan Vineyards
J Christopher
Big Table Farm
Walter Scott
Antica Terra

See also:

Visiting Oregon, July 2008 (series)

Wines tasted 07/14  
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