This review brings us back to the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a region known to produce exquisite new world Pinot Noir. We have tasted hundreds of Oregonian pinots but there is something noticeably different about the wine produced from Ayoub Vineyards. In 2001, owner Mohammad “Mo” Ayoub bought a 4 acre parcel of land which was previously untouched to vines. With the help of notorious winemaker Robert Brittain and under a new label known as “AYOUB” Mo has achieved a remarkable amount of success in a short period of time. From Lebanon to Oregon, Ayoub farms his tiny vineyard by hand, with great respect, attention and commitment to the terroir. His land is densely planted resulting in low-yielding vines with heightened fruit flavors. The wines are balanced, relatively low in alcohol, highly elegant, sophisticated at a young age and showcase complex layers at modest price points.
Rex Pickett, author of “Sideways” says of Ayoub Pinot Noir: “Ayoub’s wines are bold, rustic and some of the finest expressions of the Pinot Noir grape I’ve ever tasted. Maybe it’s unfair to single out one winemaker to the exclusion of so many others in the Willamette Valley, but Ayoub is emblematic of what’s happening with Oregon pinot: small production, hands-on approach, and intimate and rigorous control over the final product”.
It is clear Ayoub is committed to producing Pinot Noir of the highest quality. After a recent tasting of Mo’s 2010 Memoirs we were completely blown away by the stunning flavor profile, one which tastes more like an $80+ bottle of wine. Winemaking at its finest, Memoirs showcases a profound amount of earthiness with pure, delicate fruit. Clean and balanced, this wine is a blend of pinot crafted from five select top producing vineyards in the Dundee Hills & McMinnville AVAs. The diversity of the vineyards gives this wine a wide array of layered flavors & complexity. The nose is bold and pungent for an Oregon pinot with immediate aromas of forest floor, mushroom, teriyaki and blue cheese. After a few hours it softens to freshly baked rhubarb pie, orange tea and pretty oak. On the palate you experience bursts of raspberry creme, stewed cherries, and savory truffle notes framed in soft, well-integrated tannin and highlighted with refreshing acidity. White chocolate and white pepper also make appearances, adding smooth spiciness to the gloriously long and silky finish. – R.H
Market price: $38
Related scores: WS-90
Recommended glassware: Riedel Vinum XL Pinot Noir Glasses (Set of 2 -$69)
Drinking window: now through 2017
Case production: 350 cases
Recommended Food Pairing: Crispy-Skin Salmon Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes