Willful Wine Company 2016 Pinot Noir

Filmmaker to waitress to winemaker...

Pam Walden, an urban winemaker and owner of Willful Wine, fell into the wine business backwards. After a promising career at the BBC was derailed by layoffs, this London native found herself waitressing in a small restaurant in France's Dordogne region.

One day, a budding winemaker – an American – walked in. Pam fell in love and followed him back to Oregon, supporting his dream of opening his own winery.

Helping out in the cellar and getting her hands dirty gave Pam the hands-on training she needed – and a passion for making wine. But before long, they split — and she bought out his interest in the vineyard. But then, tragedy struck, and he passed away.

A single mom, Pam sold the vines and moved the winemaking operation to Portland to be close to her sons, Cato and Samson. “I really miss my vines,” Walden told Wine Press NW. “That’s really my happy place, but I had to give it up and spend that time being the best mom I can be. I’ve got basketball games to take kids to, and I’d rather be doing that on the weekend.”

This is more than a story of perseverance through tragedy. Today, Pam’s hard work and passion has made her an award-winning winemaker in her own right. Willful wine, indeed!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Willful Wine Company, Portland, Oregon
2016 Pinot Noir

Just when you think you’ve understood all the varietals there are to explore, some wine know-it-all starts talking about “clones”. What are clones and why should we care?

Let’s start with biology. Like people, most plants – including grape vines – reproduce by blending the DNA of two parents. That’s great for human kids but not for wine. So, for centuries, growers have asexually cloned grapes by grafting cuttings from vine to vine.

Now, some wines have developed strong flavor profiles in particular clones. For Pinot Noir, there are now over 40 different, notable clones worldwide. Some are more often blended and some stand alone nicely.

This Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Willful is 100% Pommard clone. “Pommard fruit is just so sexy, so lush and so pretty that it really doesn’t need any help,” says Pam Walden.

In Oregon, the Pommard clone of Pinot Noir typically expresses itself through very pure red fruits with hints of earth, dried mushroom, and cherry pie. This Pinot has bright red fruits, soft tannins, and a lush, supple texture. Wonderful with salmon or pork.

A Cellar 503 selection in October 2018, Urban Wineries Willamette Valley | Pinot Noir

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