TN's: 2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir (Côté Est, Diversite & Rocheux)

These were tasted at Otis' CDP last weekend. Otis not only opened all 3 2005's at his CDP but also all 3 2004's. Very generous of the Otis. I tried all of the 2005's at the beginning of the party since I had not had them before and waited on the 2004's. Unfortunately, by the time I returned to them the 2004's were gone. The good news is that quite a few people who had never tried one of Tom's Pinot's before were able to try at least one of the 6 wines (and in some cases all of them) and I can't recall anyone who did not come away a believer. Here are my notes on the 2005's:

  • 2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Côté Est - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (8/13/2007)
    This was the most rustic of the 2005 Le Cadeau Pinot's. This wine was filled with brambly fruit, berry and charcoal notes. Long finish with some black pepper. I thought this wine was much more open than the 2004 at the same age. This was my favorite of the 2005's at present although the Rocheaux has more potential. 91 points.

  • 2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Rocheux - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (8/13/2007)
    Since the 2004 Rocheux was my favorite from that vintage I was looking forward to this wine. As expected it had a good minerally backbone coming from the rockiest part of the Le Cadeau vineyard. Probably the youngest tasting of the 3 2005's. Notes of forest mushroom, raw meat and kirsh. The most potential for improvement in my opinion but it needs time. 90-91+ points.

  • 2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Diversite - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (8/13/2007)
    This was my least favorite of the 2005 Le Cadeau Pinot's. It had less fruit at present than the other two wines and seemed the most closed. Firm tannins with notes of burnt cherry and strawberry. 89 points.

Overall my impressions are that I liked the 2004 vintage better than the 2005 upon release. I'd be interested to here how Tom compares the vintages.

Original Post

With the WS forum names, it's hard to know who is who. You say you contacted me, did I respond? If not, please email again at Thanks.


Thanks very much for the generous offering of our wines at your CDP. We sincerely regret that we were unable to attend this year. Thanks too for the kind comments about the Cote Est.


Very nice review notes; thanks.

The ranking of the wines is interesting, but not overly surprising:

First the vintage question-- '04 vs. '05. While I've seen a few notes that some prefer the '04s, the majority vote seems to go with the '05s. I personally favor the '05s for their lower alcohol, higher acidity, better balance, and overall "fresh fruit character". Not that I dislike the '04s; to the contrary, when we released them I was delighted with the three wines. But the quality of the fruit in '05 was better, and I've maintained that they would be excellent wines. It seems that this is proving to be the case.

Regarding the specific wines, one key factor is that the '05 Cote Est was bottled one-year ago right now. By comparison, the Diversite and the Rocheux were bottled at the end of March. 12-months of bottle age vs. 4-months of bottle age is a notable difference. Thus, Cote Est may be closer to its drinking zone.

Some may be surprised to learn that the Cote Est has 50% new oak, all Francois Freres. I was concerned about the level of oak initially, but at the moment I'm delighted with the way that it has integrated. It is a balanced wine, and the oak has added some very nice dimension without the wine becoming woody.

In contrast, the Diversite and Rocheux have about 33% new oak, assorted French coopers. BUT, these two wines were in barrel for 16-months vs. the Cote Est which was in barrel for 10-months.

One common theme of all the '05s is that they are still very young, and they will age very well. Based on the fact that our 2002 seemed to hit its stride about 6-months ago (Essentially 4.5-years after the vintage harvest...), I'd guess that the 2005s will come into their prime drinking window around mid-2009, or two years from now. Given the acid, structure, and balance, it would not surprise me if they drink well for 5-years thereafter.

Finally, I think that we can look for the Diversite to put on some weight. Right now it is a bit soft, but every time I try one, it has more meat on the bone. With the demand for Le Cadeau being quite high, we've moved our release dates forward quite a bit. Our wines have considerable structure and tannin, so its likely that it will take some time for them to become the "real deal". In talking with Sam Tannahill yesterday (we selected the final '06 blend), Sam noted that they have not even released their 2005 wines yet.

Looking ahead, we bottled the '06 Cote Est this week, and the other three cuvees (we added "Equinoxe" in 2006) will be bottled in the next 2 or 3 weeks. The '06 wines are really nice, and I'm sure all will be very pleased with them.

Originally posted by BHVineyard:
With the WS forum names, it's hard to know who is who. You say you contacted me, did I respond? Tom

Yep, you responded quite quickly Tom. Thanks. I've emailed you again, putting my 'name', with, my 'name' Confused Big Grin.

Most of the 2005s have shipped, but I have some that I'm holding for cooler weather.

I'll have my admin manager see if we have any confirmation that yours shipped-- did they go direct to you, or to Otis? Maybe those were "your" bottles that everyone enjoyed? Roll Eyes
Thanks for the insights, BHV. Always interesting to get the inside scoop on your wines! Cool

I ordered and received an assorted case. I think VM may have missed the mailer or did not receive one in the first place. I'm sure he'll confirm once he checks back in.



Do I have you on our list yet? If not, and you'd like to be, please send me an email with snail mail address included.

There should be a little '05 in the Chicago market as it has not been that long since we shipped the Chicago allocation. But we didn't send much, and the '05 at the winery is almost gone.


Wine is an interesting business, and making and selling Pinot Noir is VERY interesting. First, Pinot moves around alot... just when you think you've got it right and put it in the bottle, it changes. At first this is distressing, then it becomes fun and exciting. Occasionally disappointing, certainly frustrating. But it's interesting to see everyone's reation to the wines.

Second, I think, perhaps, more than any other varietal, Pinot Noir lacks "agreed upon standards". I see this over and over when we pour at events. Husbands and wives will argue over which cuvee to buy. I'll pour for restaurants, and one buyer will love the Rocheux, the next the Cote Est, and others the Diversite. Pinot Noir speak to people in unique ways; that is what makes it fun.

So it comes as no surprise that there is not universal agreement on either vintage or cuvee. That is the nature of pinot! Enjoy.

Above you wrote: "Always interesting to get the inside scoop on your wines!"

When sitting at a table in a nice restaurant, with good company, and good wine, wine seems glamorous. And indeed, at that moment, it is. As a collector / enthusiast, I've enjoyed wine on many such occassions.

But today I am reminded that the process of getting wine to that restaurant table is often difficult, though at the same time it can be rewarding. When we invest ourselves in our work, it takes on greater meaning. It is not so much what we do, but how and why we do it.

Today I spent most of the day driving a truck... not my usual workday. We moved three 3-ton fermentation tanks, and 19-French barrels.

It is fitting that of the three cuvees tried at your CDP party, the '05 Cote Est was the favorite. In the spirit of ying and yang, it is also fitting that it rained today in Oregon. Today we moved our equipment out of the Bergstrom Winery.

Josh Bergstrom and his assistant Jorge have been our consulting winemakers for Cote Est since it was first introduced in 2004. As their winery and wine business have grown, it has become necessary for them to focus their energy on their own Bergstrom wines. So today marks the beginning of Le Cadeau Cote Est's migration to a new home. Regrettably, beginning with the 2007 vintage, it will no longer be made at Bergstrom by Josh.

Wine marks time. A winemaker friend of mine once said, "You only get so many vintages, so it's important to make every one count." Almost at the very time that you and your CDP guests were tasting and reviewing the '05 Cote Est, we were bottling the '06 Cote Est (last week). Meanwhile, the '07 grapes are on the vine... turning purple as I write... and our efforts are focused on the future--- another harvest, just 5 or 6 weeks away. Such is the way of wine, it is a time bridge.

When I began working with Josh in the summer of 2004, I did not know him well. Today we are friends. I've sorted grapes at the sorting table along side his father, and I've walked our vineyard with his father-in-law... speaking in broken Spanish since I do not speak French (his native language), and he does not speak much English.

Today I said to Josh's assistant, Jorge, "You must be looking forward to just putting your effort into your own wine." He graciously, and truthfully replied, "It really doesn't matter if we are making wine for ourselves or for others. We make wine, that is what we do. We make the best wine we can, for everybody."

Indeed, Josh and his team have helped us make great wine. It would be easy to let today pass and to simply move on. I really had no plan to write this post, but it seemed to be a fitting way to say, "Thanks!" to Josh, his staff, and his family.

I will miss working with Josh. But on a happy note, we seem to have an uncanny knack for choosing the same time and day to have lunch at the Dundee Bistro. So we can look forward to those meetings, and all of us can look forward to the maturing of the 2005 Cote Est and the release of the 2006... possibly Josh's best Le Cadeau effort to date. Thanks Josh!

Otis, that is a real "day in the life" inside wine story. Perhaps this helps in understanding why we say that Le Cadeau is all about the gift of relationships... the wine is just the excuse.

Absolutely agree BH. MLV and I were solely commenting on the wines as they currently were showing and did not factor in future developement. I think ultimately I may prefer the 05s, but that night felt the 04s were showing better.

I don't think I tasted the 05 Cote Est. Perhaps the more recent bottling of the 2 05s we tried contributed to our opinion

Just saw your eloquent yet bittersweet post about Josh and the sunset of the Cote Est cuvee. It will only make me savor those bottles even more.

The end of a wonderful chapter for sure, but new ones await to be written. I can't help but feel that your thrilling rollercoaster ride is still in the early stages! I personally am looking forward to the next twist and curve at Le Cadeau. Cool



Here's the rest of the story; I think we'll all have fun going forward...

Beginning with the 2007 vintage, the Le Cadeau Cote Est will be made by Steve Ryan at Mendocino Farms Winery. This is a new start-up winery that is focused on showcasing high-quality Mendocino vineyard sites. Steve Ryan and I met a little over 10-years ago when he was the winemaker at Martinelli-- Steve was there when the legendary '93, '94, '95 Jackass Hill zins were produced (and early on, I had a serious addiction to great zin). He also worked on the early Martinelli Pinot program, but since then has had only limited opportunity to make Pinot. Post-Martinelli, Steve has been the winemaker for several other northern CA wineries; now he is a partner in Mendocino Farms.

It so happens that Steve and I share common Minnesota roots. Steve graduated from the U of MN (I didn't, but I've lived in MN for nearly 20-years). After graduating from college, Steve developed an interest in wine and winemaking, so he moved to California and has been a winemaker there ever since.

Originally (a dozen years or so ago), Steve and I connected through a common friend in Minnesota that owns a wine shop. It just so happened that I was at that shop last December sampling our owner-retailer-friend on the just released '04 Le Cadeau wines. With uncanny timing, Steve walked in to the shop (we'd not seen each other in 10-years... he was "home" for the holidays visiting family in MN). Steve liked the Le Cadeau wine, and mentioned that he missed making Pinot Noir... of course, my ears perked-up! A few weeks later, Josh advised that he would not be able to make our '07 Cote Est. I called Steve, and here we are.

As many of you know, Le Cadeau is named for the great relationships that are a part of the Le Cadeau history. Steve is not only a talented winemaker (with some very innovative winemaking thoughts and processes), but we became friends long before we agreed to collaborate on the Cote Est. We're delighted to be working with Steve, this is gonna be fun!

(As an aside, the Mendocino Farms wines are quite exciting..., not much availability right now, but there's some really great stuff in the barrel).

As for other '07 cuvees, the Rocheux, Diversite, and Equinoxe will be made from the same fruit blocks and clones as they have in the past (as will the Cote Est). The winemaking for each of the cuvees, other than Cote Est, is unchanged--- Harry and Mike; Cheryl and Sam; and Jim, respectively. The only other change for '07 is that the quantity of Equinoxe will be increased by about 100-cases, and the quantity of Cote Est will be reduced by about 100-cases. Subject to Mother Nature's vagaries over the next 5 or 6 weeks, in 2007 we should end-up with between 250 and 350-cases of each of the four cuvees... I hope...

Tom Mortimer
Le Cadeau Vineyard

So far, so good!

Crop levels are perfect; we've thinned 3-times-- starting around August 10th, then tuned-up that thinning a few days later. Then we went through the east side and a couple of other areas to further lower the crop levels.

We had a very small amount of rain at the very end of August that split a few of the smaller berries. However, we had hot / dry weather after that, so I'm sure that the berries dried-up without any incident. I suspect the impact was, and will be, minimal.

Tonight and tomorrow the weather forecast is for a 60% chance of rain. Usually at that percentage level it doesn't amount to much, if anything, but we'll know more on that impact (if any) in another day or two. Beyond that, the forecast looks like smooth sailing... so far.

Ripeness conditions are more like 2005 and 2002 right now. The season has been warmer than '05 by a bit, but not like '04 or '06. Personally, I favor this sort of weather. We don't want heat spikes, just steady ripening-- 75-degree days and 55 - 58 degree nights. So far, for the most part, that's what we've been getting.

Net-net, everything looks great... at the moment. But I've often said that winegrape growing in Oregon is like a basketball game-- everything happens in the last one or two minutes of the game.
Tom, I did get your email and sent a reply. I have not been able to fax an order yet as I have no fax access. M. just went back to work after being out for several weeks so I can have him do it for me. If it's too late, no worries. I apologize for slowness.

Thank you!
2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Rocheux - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (10/14/07).

Pulled this to see how it was coming along. At first the nose and taste was heavy on burnt oak and gamay flavors. I decanted and left it along while preparing the Ahi Tuna steaks for the grill.

Given about 30-45 minutes the wine had totally changed. The burnt flavors had blown off providing a good level of fruit that lingers on your tongue. Very primary as I think this needs some time to completely come together in the bottle (similar comment to Vino Me, as this has very good potential for improvement). Note to try again in about a year.
Funny, I had the Rocheux for the first time the other night... but a couple days before having my own tuna steaks.

I wasn't thrilled with the wine the first night... it seemed a bit fat and non-expressive... I was thinking 85 points or so, but I stoppered the bottle and put it back in the fridge overnight. The next night was entirely different... Complex nose... Much fuller flavors with that "fatness" gone... Very nice finish, too. Very enjoyable, and I'm glad I saved most of it for the second night. 89pts, maybe better later.
Congrats to Tom and Deb for the glowing online reviews from the WA last week.

2005 Côté Est= WA90
2005 Diversite= WA91
2005 Rocheux= WA93

From the WA: "Le Cadeau is a 28-acre micro-estate owned by Tom and Deb Mortimer. Previously flying under The Wine Advocate radar screen, if the wines continue to perform as they did in 2005, Pinot fans everywhere will be jumping on this winery's mailing list."

2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Côte Est - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (12/3/2012)

Last time I had this was in 2007. Opened about 2 hours before dinner. I thought it was rounder this time. Drinking very well. Paired with black pepper crusted filet with a cream sauce. Supple tannins with notes of red fruit and minerals. 91 points.

Originally posted by Vino Me:
2005 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Côte Est - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (12/3/2012)

Last time I had this was in 2007. Opened about 2 hours before dinner. I thought it was rounder this time. Drinking very well. Paired with black pepper crusted filet with a cream sauce. Supple tannins with notes of red fruit and minerals. 91 points.


Thanks for the note and interesting pairing. I am usually hesitant to pair a black pepper steak with Pinot noir as I feel the wine may be overpowered. In your opinion, What characteristics does the Cote Est have that makes it stand well to a black pepper sauce? Thanks. I have one that you are making me consider having with a black pepper steak now. Best.
The filet did not have a black pepper sauce. It was just coated in crushed whole black peppercorns that we soaked in brandy for a few days. The reason I think Cadeau matches this dish is the minerality and black fruit that I always find in Tom's wines.

Originally posted by Vino Me:
The filet did not have a black pepper sauce. It was just coated in crushed whole black peppercorns that we soaked in brandy for a few days. The reason I think Cadeau matches this dish is the minerality and black fruit that I always find in Tom's wines.


Thx. Pepper steak is perhaps my favorite dish. I do one soaking the peppercorns in simmering canola oil. Care to share your recipe? You have my email in the wino fantasy league.

Add Reply

Likes (0)