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Flagship Pinot Noir

2014 Vintage
Our flagship bottling was aged for eleven months in three-year air-dried French oak barrels and cellared for an additional fourteen months in bottle before release. 486 cases were produced. It is comprised of four clones from six estate blocks: “Yiayia” & “Pappou” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Tonka” & “Ana” planted to Dijon 777, and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667.
Impressions
Lush and vibrant, the ’14 iOTA Pinot Noir displays an elegant nose reminiscent of violets, underbrush and pomegranates. Its jewel-toned body features a captivating array of wild berries and ripe plums, with undertones of black tea and dark chocolate that effortlessly sail along to a smooth and lingering finish.
Reviews

The Prince of Pinot

Pinotfile: VOL 11, ISSUE 5

Sips of Recently Tasted Willamette Valley Wines

June 25, 2017

by William “Rusty” Gaffney


Score: 93

The winery’s flagship bottling. A selection of barrels including all four of the clones in the Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard: Pommard, Wädenswil, Dijon 777 and 667. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and pipe smoke. Plush in the mouth with a serious extract of fresh black cherry and black raspberry fruit flavors accented with spice and a subtle smoky signature. Plenty to discover in this wine with many nuances, commendable harmony and an inspiring finish.

2013 Vintage
It was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels and cellared for an additional twelve months in bottle before release. 757 cases were produced. It is comprised of four clones from our six estate blocks: “Pappou” & “Yiayia,” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Ana” & “Tonka” planted to Dijon 777 and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.
Impressions
Our prettiest wine to date, the ’13 iOTA Pinot Noir exhibits a polished, garnet color in the glass. Brambly fruit and ripe cherries initially greet one’s nose. The palate is juicy, yet refined, with touches of clove, smoke and pebbles consummating in a fusion of ethereal scents on a bed of satin.
Reviews

Portland Monthly

October, 2016

Reviewed by Panel of 12 Wine Experts/Article Edited by Allison Jones


Ranked: #2 (Out of 1,200 bottles tasted blind)

Straight outta Burgundy. Watermelon and fennel. French toast with a touch of cloves. Pair with: braised pork shoulder

Wine Spectator Magazine

May, 2016

Reviewed by Harvey Steiman


Rating: 90

Fresh, expressive and light-footed, with a firm underpinning to the raspberry and white chocolate flavors, finishing with a hint of mineral. Drink now through 2021.

2012 Vintage
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, it was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels and received an additional twelve months of bottle aging before release—577 cases produced. It is comprised of four clones from our six estate blocks: “Pappou” & “Yiayia,” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Ana” & “Tonka” planted to Dijon 777 and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.
Impressions
Deep and plummy in hue, the ’12 iOTA Pinot Noir offers up aromas of dark cherries, berries, classic rose petal and sandalwood with a rich midpalate and a dense, medium-long finish.
Reviews

Vinous

Oregon Pinot Noir: The 2013s & 2012 Late Releases

October 2015

Reviewed by Josh Raynolds


Rating: 90

Brilliant ruby-red. Perfumed aromas of ripe red berries and cherry-vanilla, with suggestions of mocha and spicecake adding complexity. Juicy and supple on the palate, offering gently sweet raspberry and mulberry flavors and a suggestion of cola. Shows very good energy and lift on a long, smoke-tinged finish that’s nicely framed by smooth tannins.

Wine Enthusiast

Buying Guide

June 1, 2015

Reviewed by Paul Gregutt


Rating: 89

A scent of leathery funk inhabits this wine, yet never overtakes the balanced flavors. A mix of blueberry and cherry fills the palate with lush flavors, and highlights of coffee, mocha and salted caramel add further interest. It drinks as a more mature wine than the vintage date might suggest.

Allen Meadows’ Burghound.com

More Current Release California and Oregon Pinot Noirs

3rd Quarter 2015 Issue 59


Score: 90 “Outstanding”

2012 Pinot Noir – Pelos Sandberg Vineyard: (Eola-Amity Hills, 577 cases, SRP $42, 14.3%). “… ripe, spicy and perfumed red and dark currant, floral and sandalwood hints. There is good volume and verve to the lush and succulent medium weight flavors that possess fine depth and persistence on the dusty and mouth coating finish where the only nit is a hint of warmth…” 90/2019+

EIEIO Wine

News & Opinions

An iOTA of Oregon Wine

May 26, 2015

by Jay McDonald


Big, black and bold is what I would say just by looking at it! The aromas are straightforward letting you know this wine will be lush and loaded with fine French cooperage. This fresh-sawn oak aromas gives way to all berry fruits such as blackberry, black raspberry, and black currant then stone fruits show up in the realm of black plums. Within a few minutes a nose showing freshly chiseled basalt from the quarry is present. There is no levity in this wine it is dense and dark and concealing what it might be hiding with some cellaring, let alone a little air. This is a powerhouse Pinot like none other.

The wine is much lighter in the mouth than previously thought from the visual appearance mostly due to the nice acidity, typical of wines from the Eola Hills AVA. A few minutes rest and then the texture shows smoothness with super-fine grained tannins. With warmth, spices such as clove, turmeric and cumin surround what has now evolved into a solid core of black cherry flavors. The finish shows the fruit lingering within the black stone-fruit flavors and a dusting of the aforementioned Indian spices. Fun wine.

With two days of air the aromatics have moved into forest floor leaning toward Morel mushrooms and coffee. There is just enough acid showing through the finish to cleanse the palette with a blood orange wash, bringing forth more savory herbs and notes of forest pine. After a third day of the bottle being open there is a complex savoriness to this wine that reminds me of a smoked ham hock demi-glace; meatiness and sweetness combined!

Overall assessment: a great example of what a big Oregon Pinot can be when done right plus this one is at a great price!

The Prince of Pinot

Pinotfile: VOL 10, ISSUE 1

Recent Sips of Oregon Wines: Pinot Amore´

Dec. 11, 2014

by William “Rusty” Gaffney


Score: 91

Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Amazingly fragrant with aromas of dark berry, cassis, plum, black cherry and espresso leaping from the glass upon opening. Mid weight + core of well ripened dark berry fruit with some smoky oak in the background. Soft tannins and a fruitfilled finish ramp up the pleasure. The wine has plenty of oak overlay, but an equal amount of luscious fruit.

The Nittany Epicurean

2012 iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir

January 20, 2015

Michael Chelus @MichaelChelus]


The wine showed a medium-dark ruby color. Cherry, cranberry, vanilla and baking spice could all be found on the nose. Cherry, cranberry, oak and dusty leather followed on a earth-driven palate. The wine exhibited good structure and length, along with moderate tannins. The fruit notes were a bit more pronounced in the 2012 vintage and the wine would pair well with a roast piece of salmon or smoked pork shoulder. Read more.

2011 Vintage
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this special cuvée was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels and received an additional twelve months of bottle aging (“conditioning”) before release—767 cases produced. It is comprised of four clones from our six estate blocks: “Pappou” & “Yiayia,” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Ana” & “Tonka” planted to Dijon 777 and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.
Impressions
Quintessential ‘iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir’, the ’11 bottling is dark red in color. Its mouthfeel is savory and textured, featuring plum, cherry, mineral and dry floral nuances: hallmarks of its unique terroir. Hints of cinnamon, mint and cigar-box underscore its pleasingly smooth and persistent finish.
Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle

Top 100 Wines: The Best of the West Coast in 2014

December 5, 2014

Reviewed by Jon Bonné


Jon Bonné’s Top Pick

The Sandbergs came west from Minnesota and now work to meticulously farm Iota’s 11½ acres. Their own effort from six vineyard blocks is intensely spicy and aromatic: chamomile, white pepper, peach pit. Atop that sits a rich mix of fruit, for an alluring, supple-textured result that’s heady but not heavy.

Wine Press Northwest

Fall 2014 Tasting results: Pinot Noir

September 1, 2014

By Andy Perdue


Wine Rating: Excellent

Using four clones of Pinot Noir grown in the Eola-Amity Hills near Salem, Ore., this beautiful wine opens with aromas of black cherry, ripe strawberry and a pinch of succulent herbs. On the palate, it reveals bright flavors of pie cherry, rhubarb and pomegranate. Its elegant structure gives this a creamy mouth feel.

Portland Monthly’s

Oregon’s 50 Best Wines

September 26, 2014

Edited by Allison Jones


Ranked #39 out of 50. Wine Rating: 96.5

Aromas of sweet, rich cherry give way to a palate of smoked meat and crunchy red fruit.

Snooth

The Terroir of Willamette Valley

September 2, 2014

By Julia Crowley @WineJulia


Beautiful red and blue fruits, like cherries and blueberries, were highlighted by earth and fall baking spices. Succulent, juicy tannins give it an alluring boldness while vibrant acidity rounds out the concentrated fruit characteristics to perfection. Elegant, yet forward and fearless – full bodied, yet graceful.

The Thirsty Kitten

Sip Notes

July 31, 2014

By The Thirsty Kitten


Youthful but elegant ~ dark cherry and plum ~ hints of cranberry and sage

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Advance Buying Guide for August 2014

August 1, 2014

Reviewed by Paul Gregutt


Rating: 90

This winery makes just a single, estate-grown Pinot Noir each year. Pomegranate and red plum fruit flavors are gracefully showcased in this elegant vintage. Silky and smooth, it retains focus through a medium-weight, impeccably clean finish.

The Nittany Epicurean

2011 iOTA Cellars Pelos Sandberg Pinot Noir

April 24, 2014

Michael Chelus @MichaelChelus]


(Twitter: @MichaelChelus) – My series on Oregon wines starts with this great pinot noir from @iOTACellars…(The Nittany Epicurean)…The wine showed a medium-ruby dark ruby color. Cherry, tobacco leaf and oak were all present on the nose. Cherry, raspberry and loamy earth presented on the palate, with whiffs of spice as the wine opened up. The wine showed nice acidity and relatively soft tannins. Great structure and length were assets of this wine. A great first showing for pinot noir from the Willamette Valley.

Allen Meadows’ Burghound.com

More Current Release California and Oregon Pinot Noirs

2nd Quarter 2014 Issue 54


Score: 88 “Good to High Quality”

(Eola-Amity Hills, unfined and unfiltered, 767 cases, SRP $38, 12.9%). A beautifully perfumed nose offers up notes of plum, dark cherry, raspberry, sandalwood and spice nuances. There is a lovely sense of energy to the medium-bodied flavors that possess a suave but not lush mouth feel as there is good delineation, particularly on the dusty and ever-so-mildly austere finish that leans out somewhat. I like the depth and the delivery though some may find this to be a bit too lean and austere. 88/2017+

WineWeirdos

2011 @iOTACellars Pinot Noir Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard voluptuous Willamette Valley, Oregon red #Wine…

March 28, 2014

Twitter @wineweirdos


2011 @iOTACellars Pinot Noir Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard voluptuous Willamette Valley, Oregon red #Wine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGopFqWKCg&list=UUkHoDccBHCYrA-Hl9AOFpJQ&feature=share … via @YouTube

The Prince of Pinot

Pinotfile: VOL 9, ISSUE 35

2013 Oregon Pinot Noir Second Team All-Americans

Dec. 30, 2013

by William “Rusty” Gaffney


12.9% alc., 767 cases, $38. 11.5-acre vineyard planted to Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 667 and 777 clones. The vineyard, first planted in 2002, sits at 300 to 500 feet elevation, and is dry farmed. The family run winery was established in 2006. Johanna Sandberg is co-winemaker and owner. The wine contains all four planted clones. Aged 10 months in 3-year, air-dried French oak barrels and an additional 10 months of bottle aging. Unfined and unfiltered. Moderately dark reddish-purple color and unfiltered appearance in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh black cherry pie glaze, Christmas spice, and earthy flora. Full, deep and plush on the palate with remarkable flavor intensity in this cool vintage. The flavors of black cherry and black raspberry are complimented by a touch of smoky oak. The tannins are nicely balanced and the finish is noticeably persistent and aristocratic, urging you to take another sip.

Read about the selection criteria for the 2013 Pinot Noir All-Americans.

The Prince of Pinot

Pinotfile: VOL 9, ISSUE 34

Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir

Dec. 17, 2013

Reviewed by William “Rusty” Gaffney


Score: 93

Moderately dark reddish-purple color and unfiltered appearance in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh black cherry pie glaze, Christmas spice, and earthy flora. Full, deep and plush on the palate with remarkable flavor intensity in this cool vintage. The flavors of black cherry and black raspberry are complimented by a touch of smoky oak. The tannins are nicely balanced and the finish is noticeably persistent and aristocratic, urging you to take another sip

Oregon Wine Press

Applause for Pinot Noir

October 1, 2013


Value Picks

In the true estate tradition, what you see is what you get. This is iOTA’s one and only wine each year. And, yes, iOTA is how they ask that it be spelled. Fruity depth on the nose, full in the mouth. A big wine with concentrated dark fruit, bright acidity and good balance.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

Expert Reviews

July/August 2013

Reviewed by Josh Raynolds


Rating: 88

Bright red. Fresh raspberry and cherry-cola on the nose, with complicating notes of dark chocolate and vanilla. Sappy and tightly focused on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering gently sweet red fruit flavors and a hint of singed plum. Finishes on a slightly loose note, with good cling and soft, harmonious tannins.

2010 Vintage
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this special cuvée was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels, 47% new and received an additional year of bottle aging (“conditioning”) before release—402 cases produced. It is comprised of four clones from our six estate blocks: “Pappou” & “Yiayia,” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Ana” & “Tonka” planted to Dijon 777 and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.
Impressions
Reviews

WineWeirdos

March 19, 2014

Twitter @wineweirdos


2010 @iOTACellars Pinot Noir Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard complex, ageable red #Wine from Eola-Amity Hills OR youtu.be/kiGiurKrQ4o via @YouTube

Layden Robinson Blog

2010 Iota Cellars “Pelos- Sandberg Vineyard”, Eola- Amity Hills Pinot Noir

November 6, 2013

Blogged by Layden Robinson


Beautiful enriched rose color expressing oak, fresh herbs, faint menthol, mushroom and soil on the nose. Gracefully balanced, this alluring Pinot gifts pleasing acidity, tart red fruit and slight graphite on the palate; finishing with a well calculated wisp of Holiday cranberry. Keep Drinking and Keep Believing.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Advance Buying Guide for November 2013

November 2013

Reviewed by Paul Gregutt


Rating: 89

A good effort in a challenging vintage. This has a warm core of round, pretty cherry fruit, with a dash of bitters, sassafras and caramel. It persists through the middle into a Dr. Pepper finish, with details of herb and earth.

Purely Domestic Wine Report

Volume 2.3

May 2013

By Doug Wilder


Score: 91

Well-focused savory herb notes in the nose with some sassafras. The palate has brightly focused entry with nice weight and texture; Cherry, firm tomato and blue fruit all merge nicely. There is a lot to like here from Oregon. Get on this!

The Prince of Pinot

PinotFile: VOL 9, ISSUE 20

Oregon Blockbuster to Beauty Movement

February 26, 2013

Reviewed by William “Rusty” Gaffney M.D


“Good”

One more noteworthy Oregon wine. 12.9% alc., 402cases, $38. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 667, 777 from six estate vineyard blocks. Aged 10 months in 47% new French oak barrels and an additional year of bottle aging before release. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Intense black cherry, plum and spice aromas with a hint of toasty, cedary oak. Discreetly concentrated flavors of smoky black cherry and dark raspberry fruit robed in balanced, dry tannins, finishing with an infusion of black raspberry jam on toast. There is a little more oak talking at present than I prefer, but this should integrate further with another year in bottle.

Allen Meadows' Burghound.com

More Current Release California and Oregon Pinot Noirs

1st Q 2013 Issue 49


Score: 89 "Good to High Quality"

(Eola-Amity Hills, SRP $36, 12.9%). There is discreet touch of wood framing the cool, ripe and admirably pure briar-inflected red and dark pinot fruit suffused nose. There is good richness to the delicious, round and velvety medium-bodied flavors that are lush to the point of opulence before terminating in a balanced and lingering finish. This doesn’t quite have the overall depth to be at the next level but this is well made and certainly attractive. Note that it could already be enjoyed if desired though reward a few years of cellar time as well. 89/2015+

San Francisco Chronicle

2010 Pinot Noir: The Chronicle Recommends

October 12, 2012

Reviewed by Jon Bonné


Recommendation: 1 among 19 selected

Iota’s estate effort leans a bit on oak spice, but there’s also a woodruff aspect and a robust, almost leathery, side to the fruit. Dense and stylish, with a steady hand of restraint.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

August 2012

Reviewed by Josh Raynolds


Rating: 91

Vivid ruby-red. Black raspberry, sassafras and vanilla on the fragrant nose. Juicy, penetrating red and dark berry flavors show very good intensity and pick up spiciness with air. Silky and refreshingly bitter on the persistent finish, which leaves bright berry skin notes behind. This wine should age nicely on its balance.

A Year in Wine

September 20, 2012

Reviewed by Mike Dunne


Don’t let the moderate color and restrained alcohol (12.9 percent) fool you, this is one fully developed pinot noir. The integration of fresh sweet fruit and smoky oak was pulled off with exquisite dexterity.

2009 Vintage
Our most forward vintage thus far, the iOTA 2009 pays homage to previous vintages while still retaining its own unique character. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, it was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels, 45% new and received an additional year of bottle aging before release—476 cases produced.

This special cuvée is comprised of four clones from our six estate blocks: “Pappou” & “Yiayia,” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Ana” & “Tonka” planted to Dijon 777 and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.

Impressions
A jewel-toned beauty, the ’09 iOTA Pinot Noir introduces itself with a gentle core of dark cherries and “stone” fruit on the nose, unveiling a fleshy, yet elegant, midpalate, with hints of mineral, subtle spice, vanillin and dusty floral components that lead to its flavorful, concentrated finish.
Reviews

Wine Spectator Magazine

Buying Guide: New Wines From Around The World

October 15, 2012

Reviewed by Harvey Steiman


Rating: 90

Light and sleek, with orange peel and tea overtones to the pretty pear and berry flavors. Finishes gracefully, with delicacy. Drink now through 2017. 476 cases made.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Advance Buying Guide See Page 37

August 2012

Reviewed by Contributing Editor Paul Gregutt


Rating: 90 "Cellar Selection"

Focused raspberry fruit is dotted with black pepper and underscored with a granite-like minerality. Tight and refined, this elegant but forceful young Pinot has excellent aging potential.

Allen Meadows' Burghound.com

More Current Release California and Oregon Pinot Noirs

3rd Q 2012 Issue 47

Score: 88 "Good to High Quality"


(Eola-Amity Hills, 14.2%). A fresh and agreeably restrained nose of blends both upper and lower register fruit elements that include both red and dark berries, plum, earth and briar. There is a suave texture to the rich, delicious and round flavors that possess a sappy mouth feel on the ever-so-slightly tangy finish that displays good persistent but only modest depth. 88/2014+

The Prince of Pinot

PinotFile: VOL 9, ISSUE 7

May 11, 2012

Reviewed by William “Rusty” Gaffney M.D


“Very Good”

Medium plum-garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of freshly picked dark berries with a hint of oak (cigar box and toast). Inviting mid palate richness offering flavors of blackberries, marionberries and plum with a subtle note of tar and brier. Admirable finesse with a refreshing cut of acidity on the moderately long finish. Very good.

Oregon Wine Awards

2012 Oregon Wine Awards – Award Winners

April 24, 2012


Awarded DOUBLE GOLD “Best of the Best”

On March 24th, 2012, the Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon played host to the fourth annual Oregon Wine Awards, which featured eight of the state’s most experienced and respected wine professionals evaluating wines from all of Oregon’s Viticultural Areas in a single-blind format (meaning grape variety or wine style is known, but not the price nor producer) and awarded the top wines with Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Grand Awards of Excellence.

Inside Scoop SF

The 12 Wines of Christmas — Day 4: Foresty Pinot Noir/Tasting Notes

December 15, 2011

By Jon Bonné


Oregon: 2009 Iota Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir ($36, 14.2, “pine and underbrush mix”)

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

July/August, 2011

Tasting Notes By Josh Raynolds


Wine Rating: 90

2009 iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills. Deep red. Cherry-cola, blackberry and licorice on the nose. Spicy, taut and linear, offering fresh dark berry flavors nicely lifted by tangy acidity. Very fresh for the vintage, finishing with strong punch and persistent sweetness. This has the backbone to age but is drinking very well now.

The Wine Advocate

#197 October 2011

By Jay Miller


Score: 89 – Drink: 2011 – 2018

The 2009 Pinot Noir Estate spent 10 months in 45% new French oak before bottling without fining or filtration. It offers up an inviting nose of earthy minerals, cinnamon, clove, vanillin, and assorted red fruits. Easy-going and friendly on the palate, it exhibits a velvety texture, savory flavors, and good balance but is in need of greater depth and concentration, a common issue in this vintage. Even so, this tasty effort will provide plenty of pleasure over the next 6-7 years.

2008 Vintage
Our most enticing vintage to date, the iOTA 2008 embodies the best attributes of our two previous vintages thus far. Fruit, acid and tannins at play in perfect harmony; mother-nature simply did the work for us this vintage! We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Bottled unfined and unfiltered as always, it was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels, 50% new—330 cases produced.

This special cuvée is comprised of four clones from our six estate blocks: “Pappou” & “Yiayia,” planted to Pommard, “Abino Hill” planted to Wädenswil, “Ana” & “Tonka” planted to Dijon 777 and “Oscar” planted to Dijon 667. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.

Impressions
The ’08 iOTA Pinot Noir exhibits a dark, plummy hue. A cornucopia of berries and ripe cherries initially envelope one’s nose with notes of sweet vanillin, chocolate, subtle smoke and spice. Upon consumption, the rich and multi-layered midpalate unfolds, revealing hints of mineral, soil and dusty rose petal as the smooth, mouth-coating finish beckons one to try yet another sip.
Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

July/August, 2011

Tasting Notes By Josh Raynolds


Wine Rating: 90(+?)

Deep red. Black raspberry and cherry on the nose, with complicating notes of sassafras, black tea and anise. A sexy floral nuance comes up with aeration and carries onto the palate, which features dark berry and cherry-cola flavors and good mineral spine. Finishes on a gently tannic note, with very good length, solid grip and lingering spiciness – 330 cases produced.

The Tasting Room in Carlton

Summer 2011

By Jay McDonald


This is always one of the top sellers here at The Tasting Room in Carlton, the original wine business located in Carlton, Oregon. The reasoning as to why is always interesting and is usually a guess.

I could guess that it might be the room filling beautifully complex aromatics when I open a bottle at the shop. It might be the lush mouth feel once someone has tried the wine. But I have noticed that people are drawn to the bottle even when it is not being featured in the flight of hard to get Oregon wines. I think it might just be the packaging. Sure, it is bizarrely funny as the label appears to be made of those old-school textured wallpapers that were so popular back in the days of the Dick Van Dyke and Leave it to Beaver with its waffle grille textured pattern. Add to that the unusual color: BROWN. Few wine labels are brown. Check it out the next time you are in a nice wine shop. It just works great for this package though. Not trying to be cute, nor trying to be too serious, just like the people behind this winery and vineyard as well as their wine.

Two couples are the talent behind this iOTA. They found a nice spot nestled up in the Eola Hills just east of Amity, Oregon. With great exposure and good air drainable with neighbors like Nipple Hill and Antica Terra, this site gets ripe year in and out. The Sandbergs’ are the ones living and working on site with Don doing the farming and Johanna helping with the winemaking and managing the kids, or at least trying to manage the kids. The other family, the Pelos’s are the behind the scenes couple assisting in sales and marketing strategies. A nice balance of duties. All come together during harvest and bottling to make the real work easier and at times, fun.

The vineyard is a nice, manageable size encompassing almost twelve acres. They are net sellers of fruit and only produced 330 cases in the 2008 vintage. Growing slowly. Getting it to the right places and people. Having worked with fruit from this vineyard for over five years, it always comes into the winery in perfect condition with consistently ripe, and consistently sized clusters. This is something that is rare, something that not only shows a consistent site, but also good farming. The only vineyard I have worked with with similar results in both the visual on the raw material as well as the finished liquid called wine is the Canary Hill Vineyard. Interestingly enough, they are both similarly structured “bowls” on the west side of the Eola Hills Amity AVA. Perhaps it has something to do with the soil type as well. I do not know. But what I do know is that the wine produced from these grapes has been consistently among the most pleasing in aromatics, texture and longevity.

The site is predominately west/south-west facing and is planted to the four clones of Pommard, Wadenswil, and numbered clones 777 and 667. All trellised to a single-Guyot, with low-yielding rows. Fairly steep with elevation changes from 500 to 300 feet, this helps to have great airflow, minimizing risk of any molds or mildews forming. Additionally, these are non-irrigated vines which seem to promote deep root growth to get into the “mother rock” as Ken Wright calls it.

Dark and yet crystalline clear in the glass with a nose leaning more toward blackberry jam on top of grilled plums. In the background a bit of wet slate in the summer sun, a clean, yet earthy aroma. Taking a sip the wine displays a wide range of berries, mostly super ripe black cherries. The evaporation into the upper palate reveals more in the oak regime of smoked sweet meat, chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream with a dusting of cardamom. Flavors unfold with time, as this is typical of the “closed” 2008 Pinot noir from Oregon: like the sexy librarian; she has got it all, but is quiet about it. Mid palate flavors show a smoothness of linear flavors starting with ripe raspberries and candied chocolate-covered oranges, and then an almost “juiciness” causing you to salivate. The finish is non-linear at this juncture with plenty going on but it comes in waves: big black stone fruit then high-cacao chocolate. You wait twenty seconds and then the candied oranges come through. Wait another forty seconds and some slightly burnt cinnamon toast hits you. Fun wine. Lots going on. Bottled without any filtration. Aged in fifty-percent New French Oak from various cooperages to add to the wide range of spices found within the wine. Drink now or cellar through 2020. Seriously.

Wine Spectator

Issue: Web Only 2010


Score: 89 – Drink: Now – 2016

Light and silky, with raspberry and peppermint flavors that ride easily over the fine tannins, finishing with zestiness. Drink now through 2016. 330 cases made. -HS

The Wine Advocate

#191 October 2010

By Jay Miller


Score: 88 – Drink: 2012 – 2020

The 2008 Pinot Noir Pelos Sandberg Vineyard was bottled without fining or filtration. Medium ruby red with an enticing nose of cedar, spice box, cherry blossom, underbrush/earth notes, and raspberry, on the palate it is layered, intense, densely packed, and structured. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and enjoy it from 2012 to 2020.

Allen Meadows' Burghound.com

2008 Oregon Pinot Noir – Part 1

4th Q 2010 Issue 40


Score: 88 "Good to High Quality"

(from Eola-Amity Hills fruit;13.6%). A ripe yet beautifully perfumed nose of spicy blackberry fruit and cassis leads to rich and solidly concentrated flavors that possess good mid-palate sap that buffers some but not all of the youthful asperity that surfaces on the finish. I normally find a bit of asperity to be a good sign but here it borders on a kind of bitterness. While it will probably age out, I prefer to rate the wine conservatively for the time being. 88/2014+

WineUpTV

An interview with WineUpTV host Wayne

August 2010


WineUpTV host Wayne interviews Don and Johanna Sandberg about the Pelos Sandberg Vineyard, the iOTA 2007 Pinot Noir, and the soon to be released iOTA 2008 Pinot Noir.

2007 Vintage
iOTA 2007 Pinot Noir is a wine that reflects its origin and vintage. A fine accompaniment to a special meal, it can be enjoyed today or in years to come. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, it was aged for ten months in three year air-dried French oak barrels, 50% new, 345 cases produced. Release date is March 30, 2009.

The wine is comprised of grapes from four estate blocks: Ana block (16%), planted to the Dijon 777 clone, Pappou & Yiayia blocks (63%), planted to the Pommard clone and Abino Hill block (21%), planted to the Wädenswil clone. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.

Impressions
The ’07 iOTA Pinot Noir displays a vivid, jewel-toned hue. Alluring scents of fresh strawberries, cherries and plums greet the senses with notes of black pepper, cardamom and barrel toast. An underlying tinge of dried rose petal and earth accentuate a silky midpalate framed by silty tannins and a vibrant acidity. The finish is smooth and mouthwatering.
Reviews

WineUpTV

An interview with WineUpTV host Wayne

August 2010


WineUpTV host Wayne interviews Don and Johanna Sandberg about the Pelos Sandberg Vineyard, the iOTA 2007 Pinot Noir, and the soon to be released iOTA 2008 Pinot Noir.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

July, 2010

Tasting Notes by Josh Raynolds


Wine Rating: 89 (+?)

A seductively perfumed bouquet displays scents of black raspberry, cherry compote, anise and woodsmoke. Juicy and pliant on entry, offering spicy red and dark berry flavors and a firmer note of bitter cherry in the mid-palate. The bitter cherry note gains strength with air and is joined by dusty tannins on the back. Finishes with solid grip and lingering notes of cherry and smoky herbs. I’d bet on this wine improving with another three or four years of bottle age.

OregonPinotNoirWine.com

Pinot Noir Underground

June 2010

by wine critic Steven Baker


Notes from the Road

Wine critic Steven Baker follows the cool climate back roads of Oregon Pinot noir country and shares his journal. His business, Authentica Wines, is a membership based wine club.

~ June 2010

Heading east past the old schoolhouse on the way out of the small town of Amity, Oregon one is transported back in time. As the white clapboard houses give way to burnished golden fields and rolling evergreens that climb the gradual slopes of the Amity Hills to the north, the occasional farmer in a pickup gives the universal greeting of a open hand on top of the steering wheel as you pass.

Its easy to miss the long gravel drive that leads up the hill to iOTA Cellars and the home of Johanna and Don Sandberg, two native Minnesotans who have found a home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The gray steel infrastructure of the new winery building stands against the hillside, surrounded by Dijon clone planted vineyards that wind their way back among the oak and fir framed hills. Its a beautiful spot for sure.

An Indie Wine Fest pick, the iOTA Cellars, Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard 2007 Pinot Noir stood out from the crowd, like a beacon on a dark night. Talking with Don & Johanna just confirmed my initial impression. These two “get it” and it shows in everything they do.

The Pelos-Sandberg vineyard occupies a transition zone between sedimentary and volcanic soils. As we walked up the hill with Johanna and Don, we passed large rocks in every row. “Look, there’s an erratic” expressed Don as he bent to turn over a large gray stone, evidence of the difficulty involved when discing this vineyard.

The view from the top of the hill looking southwest shows the beautifully tended vineyards of several neighbors and the sight of the hawks circling below was accompanied by the drone of a distant tractor. “Its a beautiful view from here” said Johanna. Yes indeed.

These are exactly the people that I love to champion. A hard working family with no pretensions, imbued with the desire to make the best wine they possibly can and for a reasonable price. They’re not seeking to build an empire – just to make a wine they and their family can be proud of. And they are succeeding admirably.

Only their second vintage, the 2007 is rich and balanced, with a purity of fruit and a lovely texture that are as easy on the palate, as the aromas are enticing to the nose. Charming now, this wine will age well for 3 to 5 years and should be in anyones cellar who appreciates fine, small production Oregon pinot noir. Get in on the ground floor now – you’re going to want to follow these guys in the coming years.

~ Steve Baker

Allen Meadows' Burghound.com

45 Top Oregon Pinot Picks

1st Q 2010 Issue 37

Score: 90 "Outstanding"


(13.2%; Eola-Amity Hills AVA, Willamette Valley, 345 cases). A complex and impressively layered nose offers up a variety of aromas that include very fresh red berry and plum, sandalwood, spice, briar and a touch of crushed herb that transfers over to the delicious, serious and attractively textured medium-bodied flavors that culminate in a mouth coating and mildly austere finish where a hint of youthful asperity can also be seen. This restrained and even understated effort needs a few years of cellar time to emerge from its shell. Lovely. 90/2014+

Portland Monthly's Oregon's 50 Best Wines

Oregon's 50 Best Wines

September, 2009

Tasting Notes by Condé Cox


Ranked #9 out of 50. Wine Rating: 92-

$42, 5-7 years. Lots of toasty new oak barrels are used to make this mouth-filling wine, which exhibits plenty of delicate berry flavors.

2006 Vintage
iOTA 2006 Pinot Noir is comprised of grapes from three estate blocks. Ana block (10%), planted to the Dijon 777 clone, Pappou block (59%), planted to the Pommard clone, and Abino Hill block (31%), planted to the Wädenswil clone. Each of these blocks has a unique soil makeup and exposure.

It was aged for eleven months in three year air-dried French oak barrels, 40% new, bottled unfined and unfiltered, release April 25, 2008, 260 cases.

Impressions
The ’06 iOTA Pinot Noir exhibits a deep mulberry hue with an opaque core. The nose initially reveals dark fruit reminiscent of cherries, plums and berries with hints of chocolate/cocoa, mint and cola framed in barrel toast, vanillin and smoke. As the wine rests in the glass and is swirled, nuances of forest floor, mushrooms and dusty rose petal emerge. Round and weighty with integrated tannins, the midpalate offers a lush mouth feel that leads to a generous, lingering finish.
Reviews

The Thirsty Kitten

Iota Cellars Pinot and A Single Fancy Glass

March 3, 2012

By Lucy & Kip


Another Friday night at the Thirsty Kitten. We had planned to open a Yorkville Cellars Malbec– had heard the cork popping in our minds all day Friday in anticipation. But when Kip went to the cellar to fetch a bottle (remember, we use the term cellar loosely), he came up empty handed. Apparently, the Malbec was so good we’d finished it all. This happens to us a lot. Never fear, we’ll restock and write about it soon.

How could we ease our disappointment? Luckily, we didn’t have to cry long, as we decided quickly that we’d open a bottle of Iota Cellars Pinot Noir, the thought of which had us giddy with excitement in short order. Iota is located in Oregon and has all the qualities we relish most in a winery– small production, sustainably farmed, and family-owned.

The Sandberg and Pelos households, related by blood, combined forces in the the late 1990’s to explore the dream of creating a winery from the ground up. They found property in the northern Eola Hills of Yamhill County outside of Amity, Oregon– part of the Willamette Valley. Johanna and Don Sandberg lived on the property, nurturing the cultivation of vines. From the beginning, Don specialized in vineyard management while Johanna focused on winemaking. Lynne Pelos shepherded the business and marketing side. In 2006, they released the first vintage of their signature wine, Iota’s Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Originally from Minnesota, the Pelos and Sandberg families held a special launch here in the Twin Cities when the 2006 was released. Kip and I were lucky to attend. We sipped, we chatted, and we learned so much about the trials and tribulations of going from property acquisition to wine in the bottle– truly a labor of love for this family team. Incredibly impressed with the elegance and full fruit of their very first effort, we ordered a case. As a gift for our purchase, we received a beautiful Riedel wine glass etched with the Iota logo, made specifically for drinking Oregon Pinot Noir. Seriously! A glass crafted just for Oregon Pinot. How decadent and luxurious! (Don’t tell, but sometimes we drink California Pinot from it, too.) We adored the elegant, ample bowl, perfect for swirling and allowing the wine to open, and the ever so slightly turned out lip of the glass, which made every sip a pleasure.

The bottle we opened last night was the very last of the case of ’06 Pinot. We always feel a twinge of sadness mixed with reverence when we get to the end of our supply of a vintage we’ve especially enjoyed. Usually when we sip Pinot Noir, and always when drinking Iota, we use our Fancy Glass. After some awkward attempts to share the single glass during a tasting, we’ve arrived at a system of taking turns so that we each have our fair share of time getting the Riedel to ourselves and feeling extra special. As luck would have it, last night was my turn.

Our thoughts on the 2006? Upon first breathing the aroma, Kip said: “If I could smell this all day, I’d be a happy man!” It was lush and full of fruit on the nose. I tasted smooth, jammy plum on the front and tart cherries on the back end of the first sip. Kip tasted creamy vanilla, as well, and a touch of herbs. He said, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was a Martinelli”– extremely high praise, if you’ve ever had Martinelli’s legendary Pinot Noir, with Helen Turley as consulting winemaker. Honestly, it was so good, the wine practically begged you to take another sip . . . and another, and another. We forced ourselves, as best we could, to savor it slowly.

At the end of the evening, we raised our Fancy Glass in a toast to the Sandberg and Pelos families, to their toil in the vineyard that is producing such divine juice, and to each of you, whom we could feel toasting with us in spirit. As always at the Thirsty Kitten, a good time was had by all.

For those who prefer formal tasting notes, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar rated the wine a 90, “Outstanding.” The review can be read here.

Portland Monthly

Oregon's 50 Best Wines

September, 2009

Tasting Notes by Condé Cox


Ranked #26 out of 50. Wine Rating: 89

$42, 5-6 years. Intensely concentrated, with plenty of the alcohol warmth typical of 2006 pinots.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

May, 2009

Tasting Notes by Josh Raynolds


Wine Rating: 90 (Outstanding)

($42) Hazy, medium red. Seductive perfume of red berries, cherry-vanilla, potpourri and dried herbs. Fleshy and sweet, with deep red berry liqueur flavors and slow-mounting oak spices. The vanilla note recurs on the finish, which is pleasingly smooth and persistent. This is pretty delicious right now.

Willamette Week Online

Issue #35.05 – Special Section – Holiday Gift Guide 2008

December 10, 2008


The Nose Knows

A few iffy tastings can leave you wondering why anyone bothers with the Oregon wine industry—but then you taste something like the iOTA 2006 Pinot Noir ($44. E&R Wine Shop, 6141 SW Macadam Ave., 246-6101), a mulberry-hued delight from tiny Amity winery iOTA Cellars, and you remember exactly what those wine geeks are talking about. Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels, this lush wine smells of dark fruits with hints of chocolate, mint and cola framed in barrel toast, vanillin and smoke. (BW)

Allen Meadows’ Burghound.com

Oregon Reviews

October, 2008


Score: 89

2006 Pinot Noir – Pelos Sandberg Vineyard: (from Eola-Amity Hills fruit bottled at 14.7%; $42).

A pretty and nicely complex red berry fruit nose that includes subtle spice hints along with both cranberry and raspberry fruit aromas that dissolve into delicious, balanced, pure and detailed middle weight flavors that are underpinned by moderately firm tannins and fine persistence. This is relatively understated and save for a trace of backend warmth, carries its alcohol gracefully. 89/2011+

Story Teller Wine Company

Feeling Minnesota

August 1, 2008


Sometimes you just stumble over something great. Who knows how my life would have been different if I had taken a different route to work that day in Seattle? I might have ended up an Air Supply fan. About a month ago I was visiting with Jay MacDonald at the Carlton Tasting Room and noticed a big stack of iOTA Cellars boxes. I made a mental note to check the wine out at some future date. And then I promptly forgot about it. Then within one 24-hour period last week I had three customers ask about the iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir. This time I called the winery right away and within 48-hours Don Sandberg was standing here in the store, pouring me a glass of his wine. It turns out Don and Johanna Sandberg moved to Oregon from Minnesota just to make wine. Their other partner, Lynne Pelos remains in Minnesota. They may be transplanted Minnesotans, but they have really figured Oregon Pinot Noir out. I haven’t been this stunned by something from Minnesota since I watched then-Governor Jesse Ventura announce on his first day in office that his number one priority was to repeal the tax on jet skis. And no, I’m not making that up.

This is the first vintage from what I am fairly confident will become one of Oregon’s “next big things” in the world of wine. The wine is quite fantastic. And why not? Team Pelos Sandberg found a prime location (tucked away in the hills of Amity in and among vineyards and estates like Antica Terra and the Duke Family) and planted Pommard, Wadenswil and Dijon 777/667 Pinot Noir grapes. The Sandbergs have a very nice background in vineyard management and they are committed to dry farming (only Mother Nature gets to water these vines) and sustainable farming practices. They did such a great job with this 11 acre vineyard that Beaux Freres, Bergstrom Winery and Sam Tannahill over at Rex Hill beat a path to their door to buy their fruit. But Team Pelos Sandberg knew they eventually wanted to make their own wine. So the very best fruit from three of their best estate blocks is held back to make their iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir. This is the first vintage and they only made 260 cases. So here is your chance to get in on the ground floor of what promises to be be a very significant winery over the long haul here in the Willamette Valley. These folks are 100% focused on just one wine, their Pinot Noir. They only make tiny amounts so to say their obsession with quality in every detail, from the vineyard to the bottle, borders on manic would be quite the understatement. If you consider yourself a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir, you owe it to yourself to at least try this wine one time. I promise you will be hooked after just one sniff, much less a gulp.

OK, now for the wine itself. I tried it initially at about 2:00PM yesterday. Then I left some in my glass and came back to it after three hours of air time. Here is what developed. The color was a nice, rich ruby red and it looked pretty nifty against the color of our copper wine bar. The nose showed off some really nice dark fruit, like dark plums and black raspberries. But the three hours of air time led to the very welcome arrival of scents like dark chocolate and campfire smoke. The palate is a whole other ballgame. Wow. There are dark cherry and raspberry fruit flavors, but they are equally matched by some nice, earthy notes. There is definitely a damp earth/forest floor kind of thing going on here with just a touch of mushroom. The finish is quite long, with the most exotic note of jasmine and dried rose petals hanging around in my mouth. And no need to worry about a lot of new oak or high alcohol (it’s about 14%) here. Nope, this wine was made mostly in French oak barrels that had been air-dried for three years! Then it was bottled without fining or filtration.

I really enjoyed drinking my glass of the iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir. Don Sandberg seems like a very nice, earnest fellow and based on their actions I can see they are committed to the integrity of their estate’s soil and the quality of what they put in a bottle. Heck, when you only make 260 cases of wine you kind of have to be sure it’s great if you are going to survive. Based on this first vintage, I don’t think we are going to have to worry much about Team Pelos Sandberg. We’re just going to have to worry about getting enough of their wine!

I really want folks to try this wine and get as excited about this winery’s future as I am. So just in case you are on the fence right now, anybody willing to jump on the iOTA Cellars bandwagon before it leaves Amity, Oregon for good will receive free UPS ground shipping anyplace in the lower 48 states. We’ll even hold the wine until it is cool enough in your area.

The Pelos and Sandberg families are doing things right, and Storyteller Wine Company is proud to be able to offer their first vintage of Pinot Noir. And once the Wine Advocate and all those other publications start bestowing big scores on the iOTA Cellars Pinot Noir, we can all sit back smugly and say “yup, I’ve been buying their wine since before they were famous!”

Oregon Pinot Noir Club

July 2008 Newsletters

July, 2008


July World Class Wines: 2006 iOTA Pinot Noir

New producer alert! What with all the griping I do about the flood of mediocre and downright lousy new producers that have washed ashore in Oregon lately, you’d think that there are no GOOD new producers. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth. Among the gems shining forth from the vinous detritus is this new bottling from iOTA.

The winery is located in Eola Hills, where the estate vineyard has eleven acres planted primarily to Pommard and Wadeswil clones of pinot, with a smaller percentage of Dijon clones. This is a bit unusual — most new producers here are leaning on the Dijon clones to a much greater degree. (Estimates are that considerably more than half of all new plantings here are the Dijon clones, rather than the tried-and-true clones that make up the vast majority of older vineyards). This one step immediately puts iOTA out in front of many newcomers, who rely too much on the Dijon clone fruit to make wines that are . . . gooey.

Over the past few years, the winery partners – the Sandberg and Pelos family – have sold their grapes to Beaux Freres and Bergstrom, among others. That’s another good thing plenty of newcomers don’t bother to integrate themselves with established wineries (a trend that is not good for the overall industry, in my opinion). After a few years of experimenting with winemaking they decided to go commercial. Here’s another key factor. Rather than hire a consultant to essentially assembly-line produce their wine, the partners chose one of their own, Johanna Sandberg, to do the deed. While consultants and custom crush facilities certainly have their place, they have also made oceans of dreadful plonk.

As a result of all those good decisions, iOTA has produced a terrific wine. It’s a classically styled Oregon pinot noir brimming with rich flavors of dark fruits, deftly accented with quality wood and possessing a multi-layered texture and great complexity of flavor. Although it’s from the ripe ’06 vintage, known so far for a plethora of fruit bombs and early-drinking pinots, the iOTA has a touch of structure that defines the wine and adds some welcome focus. Those who pay attention will discern minerals and soil flavors along with the black cherry, dark plum and other fruit flavors. Decant this one a bit for current consumption, or hold for 3 months to 3 years for further integration.

The Tasting Room

Inventory: Just the Reds

June 16, 2008


The aptly named iOTA winery, meaning “small quantity” is a 260-case production, family-run operation. Completely hand-crafted, unfiltered and unfined, the resulting wine is an elegant, beautifully balanced Pinot noir that reflects Lynne and Perry Pelos and Johanna and Don Sandbergs’ (Pelos Sandberg) vineyard site. The 11.5 acre vineyard is located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and is planted in six blocks to Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 777 & 667 clones. Bergström and Beaux Frères are two of the well-known producers who source fruit from the Pelos Sandberg Vineyard (PSV) and now added to this impressive list is iOTA.

From the Ana (10%), the Pappou (59%) and the Abino Hill (31%) blocks, the 2006 iOTA Cellars has dark berry, vanilla and brambly orange underbrush on the nose which translates into a lighter-bodied elegant wine with forest floor, dusty rose petals and dry earth on the palate. Bright and approachable, there is beautifully balanced acid and fruit, the mouth feel is lush, and the finish is long, lingering and seductive.

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