Twelve Wine: One White and a Pinot Noir Vertical



By Kori ~ November 17th, 2010.

Twelve, founded by John and Linda Lenyo, is a small, family-owned winery in Carlton, Oregon. The Lenyos live on their 12.5-acre estate vineyard, Fir Crest Vineyard, which is the sole source of fruit for the Twelve wines. Located in the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA in the northern part of the Willamette Valley, Fir Crest Vineyard is planted to 11 acres of Pinot Noir and 1.5 acres of white varieties. Originally from New Jersey, the Lenyos moved to Oregon in 1996, bought their vineyard land in 1998, and produced their first vintage of Twelve in 2003. Currently, Twelve produces 1,200-1,500 cases per year. If you are curious about the name Twelve, as I was, search “goes to eleven” on YouTube to watch one of the Lenyos favorite movie scenes and the inspiration for the name of their winery.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste some Twelve wines in a blind samples tasting. We tasted their 2008 Estate White as well as a Pinot Noir vertical, which included the 2005, 2006, and 2007 vintages of their 144 “reserve” Pinot Noir and the 2008 vintage of their estate Pinot Noir. We would recommend all five wines but especially enjoyed the 2008 Estate White and the 2006 Pinot Noir 144. Twelve is definitely an exciting new discovery for us.

With the help of consulting winemaker Dean Fisher, the Lenyos make the Twelve wines at ADEA Wine Company in Gaston, Oregon. In July, Twelve had a “soft” opening for their new tasting room in McMinnville. They will be hosting an official grand opening in conjunction with the release of their 2008 Pinot Noir “reserve” blends, the 144 and Uh-Huh, this Saturday, November 20th.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is a great place to visit, particularly for Pinot Noir lovers. Our last trip to the Willamette Valley was in 2008, and we are anxious to visit again. We will definitely be adding Twelve to our list of places to visit on a future trip to the area. If you are looking for something fun to do over Thanksgiving weekend, you might consider attending the Willamette Valley’s annual Wine Country Thanksgiving when over 160 wineries and tasting rooms will open to the public for special tastings and holiday festivities.

2008 Twelve Estate White (Fir Crest Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton District, Oregon): 80% Pinot Blanc, 20% Pinot Gris. Pale to medium, greenish yellow in color. Very aromatic with lemon and lime on the nose; more lemon, lime, and white peach come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced and refreshing with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $15; MadWine (Seattle, Washington), $15

Pinot Noir vertical (oldest vintage to most recent vintage):

2005 Twelve Pinot Noir 144 (Fir Crest Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton District, Oregon): Medium red in color. Very aromatic with strawberry, cranberry, and violet aromas. More strawberry and cherry pie filling flavors on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, medium dry tannins, and a long, slightly bitter finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $35; Available elsewhere, $36 to $40

2006 Twelve Pinot Noir 144 (Fir Crest Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton District, Oregon): Medium red in color. Beautiful bouquet with floral and red fruit aromas. Raspberry, cranberry, strawberry, violet, and a hint of spice come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with good, crisp acidity and medium tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $35

2007 Twelve Pinot Noir 144 (Fir Crest Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton District, Oregon): Pale to medium, ruby red. Aromatic with strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry on the nose. Bright red fruits, particularly strawberry, and cinnamon dominate the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with medium tannins and a long, somewhat bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $35

2008 Twelve Pinot Noir (Fir Crest Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton District, Oregon): Pale to medium, ruby red. Nice nose with bubblegum and cedar aromas which lead to flavors of raspberry, cranberry, and a hint of spice. Medium-bodied and crisp with medium tannins and a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25; MadWine (Seattle, Washington), $23


Filed under: American Wine, Oregon Wine, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Red Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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