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2003 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Black Hole Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Parrett Mountain (9/1/2005)
This is the 3rd vintage from this estate. I had the pleasure of trying it at the Chicago offline dinner last Friday at the Speakeasy Supper Club in Chicago. Tom Mortimer, the owner of this estate came in for this dinner and brought both the 2002 and 2003 with him. The 2002 that he poured was my favorite Pinot Noir of the weekend. The grapes for this wine come from young 5 year old vines. In 2003 this estate had 3 new winemakers (Tannahill, Nedry and Bergstrom). I would be interested to know which of these winemakers made the wine we tried or if they all had a hand in this bottle.

Whereas the 2002 was Burgundian in style, the 2003 was much riper and more opulent. Bordering more on a California Pinot is style. The tannins were ripe at present and in need of some taming with age. Notes of red and black fruit with some stoney notes on the finish. The wine had a nice underlying minerality which was evident despite a very solid core of fruit upfront. I preferred the 2002 but this was still excellent. 91-92 points.

Thanks Tom. It was good to see you again and to meet your wife for the first time. Always a pleasure to drink your wine.

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I don't know if you spoke with Tom at all about the wine. If so, is the differnce between the 2002 and 2003 due more to the vintage in Oregon or the new winemakers. How does the 2003 compare to the 2002 at the same stage of development? They both sounds great yet vastly different. Can't wait to try the 2002 again and pop a 2003.

Originally posted by Vino Me:
Whereas the 2002 was Burgundian in style, the 2003 was much riper and more opulent.VM

This statment could not be more true.

I enjoyed both vintages, and don't have a preference for one style versus the other. ChillyWino's question is a good one for those with a strong preference one way or the other.
Chilly- In speaking with Tom, I believe that he attributed the difference in style primarily to the weather. 2003 was a hotter year and produced riper fruit. I did not have a chance to talk to him about the winemakers. Perhaps I got that wrong because there was so much going on last weekend. I'm sure Tom will pop in eventually to discuss both your question and mine.

R4L- I can't recall the alcohol on the 2003 but the 2002 had 14.1% alcohol.

To all- Toms website is now up and running with some excellent photos of his vineyards. Take a look. Le Cadeau Vineyard.

Vino Me, Otis, and Mrs. VM and Mrs. Otis,

First, from me and Mrs. BHV I'd like to extend many many thanks to all of you for the delightful dinner gathering and the CDP party! Everything was wonderful! It was great fun to meet so many folks that have been a part of this forum for so long. And everyone's generousity and hospitality was truly extraordinary. Thanks!!!

I apologize for the slow response (and thanks), I've been up in Northern Michigan on vacation for a few days, and not online much.

VM (and others),

Thanks for the kind comments regarding the 2002 Le Cadeau and your thoughts regarding the 2003. I may have confused you and others a bit with the current and forward plans for Le Cadeau; allow me to clarify:

The 2002 Le Cadeau is actually the first vintage of Le Cadeau, and 2003 is the second. In 2001 (our first harvest from 3-year old vines) we had about 1.5-tons of fruit that was blended into the DePonte Cellars 2001. So as far as Le Cadeau goes, I start the clock with the 2002... but it would be accurate to say that the 2002 vintage is the second harvest for the vineyard.

Both the 2002 and 2003 were made by the same winemaker-- Isabelle Dutarte. She is the resident winemaker at DePonte, and a very talented lady. So no need consider the winemaker as a variable between the 2002 and 2003.

In 2004 (and also for 2005), we will have three consulting winemakers, and each will have a Le Cadeau "winemaker-designated" cuvee. All three cuvees are made 100% from Le Cadeau estate fruit, but the consulting winemakers work with different sections of the vineyard which have diverse clones and soil characteristics. Thus, we will have three wines of common heritage -- the vineyard -- but each has meaningfully different flavors and characteristics.

The 2004 Le Cadeau "Bergstrom Cuvee" was bottled a week ago; the Le Cadeau "Chehalem Cuvee" will be bottled next week, and the "Cheryl Francis-Sam Tannahill Cuvee" will not be bottled until later in the year. The wines will likely be released a year from now.

Regarding the 2003, this is indeed a "riper" more fruit forward Le Cadeau (versus the 2002), and the difference is almost exclusively vintage driven. I have been told by a well-known restaurant owner in Oregon that he considers the two wines to be excellent and "true" examples of the two vintages. The alcohol in the 2003 is 14.6% compared to 14.1% in the 2002.

Please note that the 2003 is not "officially released" at this time because I do not believe it is "ready". I'm anticipating that the wine will formally release around the 1st of the year and will be closer to "ready" in 9 to 12 months. BUT, I've poured the wine for a few close friends, and some have preferred its richness to the "apparently more-structured" 2002. (I use that term because I believe that the 2003 has comparable structure to the 2002 but it is currently masked by the considerable up-front fruit. This becomes apparent if it is tasted 4 - 6 hours after the bottle is opened and / or decanted). For those that have been passionate and / or curious about the 2003, I've let a few cases out the door.

I concur with VinoMe's current preference for the 2002, but I can honestly say this: The 2003 tastes better now than the 2002 did a year ago. I have high hopes for the 2003, but only time will tell if it surpasses the 2002.

Regarding our website, it is a temporary solution to a blank page; the "final" version is still a few months off:

Again, thanks to all for your support; it is greatly appreciated and very gratifying. AND at the risk of being overly redundant, those that have some of the 2003, or are considering purchasing it, please either hold it for 6-months, or give it 4 - 6 hours of airtime before serving.

Thanks for the note! Likewise, I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing you at some future event. Glad you liked our wine; let me know where I can send some to you when you get that sorted out. Also, don't hesitate to visit us in Oregon; I'd love to show you around the vineyard!


Thanks for the "thanks", but it was truly our pleasure. I was and am first and foremost a wine-geek and collector; it's just that my hobby took a substantial 90-degree turn along the way and we ended up with a vineyard and some wine to market Eek. Deb and I had a wonderful time meeting and chatting with you (and everyone else). We also enjoyed all the Canadian flags strategically placed on each side of Otis' sidewalk! A very nice touch!

Looking forward to seeing you at a future event... perhaps in the Pacific Northwest, eh?

Yes, VM's suggestion is good: email me at .

I'd suggest you come visit us at the vineyard. I'll show you the vineyard and pour the '02 and '03 for you, if you're interested. We'll be in Oregon on those dates. We're located about 4-miles east of Newberg, and about 2-miles due south of the Chehalem Winery. But you'll need directions to find us.
Had this on 12/30/05. Decanted through a wine filter. Fabulous from the get go. I echo Vino Me:
Whereas the 2002 was Burgundian in style, the 2003 was much riper and more opulent. The wine had a nice underlying minerality which was evident despite a very solid core of fruit upfront.

Highly recommend and will probably drink these before my 02's.

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