Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For All the Pinot Noir in Oregon --

We have to thank David Lett, founder of The Eyrie Vineyards. Mr. Lett passed away last week at the age of 69.

In 1966, David Lett planted 13 acres of vines in an old prune orchard in the Dundee Hills. Today, Oregon boasts more than 10,000 acres of pinot noir. He was also the first winemaker in the U.S. to produce pinot gris. From The New York Times:
"After traveling through Europe visiting wine regions, he returned to the United States in love with the pinot noir grape, with the conviction that it could succeed only in a marginal environment. A taste of some particularly good strawberries grown in the Willamette Valley convinced him that it was the place for pinot noir. He moved there in 1965.

While searching for the right site for a vineyard, Mr. Lett supported himself by selling college textbooks. The job permitted him to drive around the state, and whenever he saw a likely area, Jason Lett said, he would pull over to take soil samples. In the summer of 1966 he found his vineyard, and he also found a wife. David and Diana Lett spent their honeymoon planting grape vines, Jason Lett said."
On our recent vacation, we drank a wonderful bottle of pinot noir (from the kybecca shop), the Medici Vineyards from Williamette Valley. The next time you raise a glass from Oregon, salute the vision of David Lett.

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