I was not familiar with this winery before our recent trip to OR, but learned that fellow forumite NolanE works in the cellar there. He scheduled some of his time on a Saturday afternoon to show us around the winery/tasting room in McMinnville.

While I wasn't really taking many detailed notes during this trip I was at least keeping tasting room "menus" and jotting down a few comments. However, I seem to have lost the one for Brittan, so I'm really going by memory here.

Our visit started with Nolan showing us around the winery behind the tasting room where he had been doing some blending all week. The facility serves as winery and tasting room for both Brittan and Winderlea, the latter also has a tasting room at their vineyards. We tasted several young wines from barrel and/or tank, but unfortunately the only one I can remember for sure is a Brittan Syrah (Estate) and I'm pretty sure it was the 2012. I can't say I've tasted many Willamette Valley syrahs and I won't claim the be able to tell much about a wine from barrel, but it is a very good wine. The reason I remember this wine is because it was here I learned Robert Brittan used to be the winemaker at Stags' Leap Winery and in fact made my first wow wine, the 1994 Petit Sirah. I know we also tasted some Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs from the 2016 vintage. Nothing sucked, that's for sure.

In the tasting room we got to try several wines from both Brittan and Winderlea. It was interesting comparing the two labels since both were made by the same winemaker. Apparently Winderlea picks their fruit much earlier than Brittan does and it clearly makes a difference. I found the Winderlea (Chard and Pinot) to be leaner and more austere than the Brittan wines. The Brittan wines are bigger with better fruit, but very well balanced. The pinots were quite tannic so they could use some aging. What I can remember we tasted

2014 Winderlea Chardonnay
2014 Brittan, Chardonnay
2014 Winderlea, Pinot Noir
2014 Brittan, Pinot Noir, Basalt Block
2014 Brittan, Pinot Noir, Gestalt Block

For me, the best of the above was the Chardonnay. Really, really liked it. I ended up buying a bottle of the 2012 for the offline with the Seattle group and it was drinking even better than the 2014. Of the two pinots, I preferred the Gestalt block and it will sit in my cellar for several years.

Big thanks to Nolan for taking the time with us. Just too bad we couldn't have got together for dinner and wine on Thursday night.
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