Eyrie Vineyards: Release of the 2018 Vintage

Tom Baxter | June 7, 2022

David Lett had just reached his mid-twenties when he graduated from UC Davis in 1965 and promptly left for Oregon. Such was his conviction that Burgundian elegance could be achieved in these now famed hills southwest of Portland that healthy stocks of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and other scions were taken along with him. These plantings formed the basis of the eponymous Eyrie Vineyard site and subsequent neighboring parcels; indeed, they were the birth of a modern great of the Willamette Valley. From the very beginning, David and his wife Diana farmed every plant organically in the pursuit of sustainability and authentic expression of Dundee Hills terroir.

That which first brought considerable renown to the estate (so named in reference to the local circling hawks that also adorn the labels) was the 1975 South Block Reserve. Not only did this triumph in international contests held in 1979 and 1980 respectively, but it questioned the adage that ‘the older the vine, the better the wine’ – these vines were in their seventh leaf only.

Today, Jason Lett is in charge, having been involved in every harvest since 1973 and having taken the helm in 2005. These 2018s are the result of a dry, but cool summer that produced a modest harvest of sublime balance in the fruit.

Sotheby’s Wine heartily recommends this entire range, with highlights being the generous, structured, and barrel-fermented Chardonnay ‘The Eyrie’ as well as the Pinot Noir ‘The Eyrie’; the latter is the most aromatically complex of the Pinots, but both hail from David and Diana’s original 1965 planting. Sample a range of the single vineyards to see the subtle inflections of this great grape tended with both care and vision.