Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Le Cadeau Winery Pinot Noir – Rocheux, Diversité and Côte Est

Sitting down with Tom Mortimer of Le Cadeau Winery in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I was regaled with Tom’s passionate description of his vineyard located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. He spoke about the various soils, the microclimates and the clones that he has in his vineyard. Then I tasted his Pinot Noirs and it all came together. And that is why the three Pinot Noirs – Rocheux, Diversité and Côte Est are the Please The Palate wine(s) of the week.

Originally from the Midwest, Tom and Deb Mortimer purchased an uncultivated piece of land located on the south slope of Parrett Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains AVA in 1997. Sitting at a high elevation between 610 feet and 725 feet, they cleared the land and planted six acres of Pinot Noir in 1999. Tom selected a mix of Pinot Noir clones and planted Pommard, Dijon clones 667, 777, 113, and 115, as well as Mariafeld (a Swiss Pinot noir clone) and assorted heritage clones from California. Today there is a total of sixteen acres planted.

In addition to the variety of clones and the high elevation, Le Cadeau Vineyard also has many slope aspects and soil types. The primary vineyard soil is Jory (volcanic basalts) and Witzel (very shallow, broken basalt). However, the soil on the east side has considerable organic material resembling a cross between Jory and Willakenzie (marine sediments). On the western side of the vineyard, the soil is made up of large rocks.

Le Cadeau is able to showcase this unique vineyard by producing small production blends from different sections of the vineyard.

2017 Le Cadeau Rocheux Pinot Noir ($65) – Sourced from the rocky western side, these vines are typically picked first. The wine, made from clones Pommard, Dijon 777 and Wadenswil, has red fruit aromas cherry, currant and raspberry, as well as black tea and crushed rocks. On the palate, the wine is smooth with a tart finish.

2017 Le Cadeau Diversité Pinot Noir ($50) – Sourced from an assortment of mixed-clone blocks, including Pommard, Mariafeld, and Dijon 667, 777, 113, 114 and 115, at the northern end of the vineyard, the Diversité has aromas of blue fruits, black cherry and a floral perfume. It is light and bright with a delicate grip in the mid-palate and a mouthwatering finish.

2018 Côte Est Pinot Noir ($50) – Sourced from the cooler eastern side of the vineyard, the wine, made from Dijon 667, Dijon 115, Dijon 114 and Pommard clones, has a big fruity nose of black cherry and boysenberry, as well as floral and spice notes. A young wine, it has bigger yet elegant tannins.

These three Pinot Noirs reflect the clones, soils and slopes of the Le Cadeau Vineyard and are the Please The Palate Wine(s) of the Week.