Pam Walden
August 6, 2022 | Pam Walden

My name is Pam and I am a Pinot Geek

This last week I’ve been a pinot geek.

Last Sunday, Kyla (assistant winemaker) and I drank our way through the wines at the Passport to Pinot, which is the last event of the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon. The event brings pinot noir producers and enthusiasts from all over the world to celebrate their love of this finicky yet beguiling grape. I had a huge crush on a 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin offered by Domaine Marc Roy, and not just because they have a female winemaker. The wine was a little lower I alcohol, which was much more agreeable in the heat that we had on Sunday, and it had a gorgeous, supple mouthfeel and perfect balance. Pretty much all of the wines being shown were just lovely.

Throughout the rest of this last week, I’ve been working on my reserve pinot noirs from the 2021 vintage, trying to ascertain which barrels I like better, and which ones will work together to create the single vineyard pinot noirs and the Winemaker Cuvee blend this year. Although, the vintage as a whole is a little boozier than I prefer (just over 14% alcohol), I really like the wines. The vintage reminds me of 2005, with big, expansive tannins, presumably a result of thicker skins from the extreme heat spells we had last summer. This brawny framework supports wines that still have a lot of grace and complexity though. I think the wines will age well.

Probably my favorite wine at the moment is two barrels from Nysa Vineyard. The vines are 20 years old and the block I picked from is planted to Pommard clone pinot noir and is at a higher elevation and east- facing. The wine is just 13.4% alcohol with natural bright acidity, sexy mouthfeel, and such intensely focused bright red fruit flavors. It’s a baby still but, oh my, I can’t wait to see how it evolves.

If the idea of blending sounds interesting, or if you’re a pinot geek like me, consider coming to our last Blending Workshop this year on August 27th. And do check out the single vineyard wines that we currently offer at If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email us at or call us on 503 577 8982.


Pam Walden, Owner/Winemaker, Willful Wine





Time Posted: Aug 6, 2022 at 9:52 PM Permalink to My name is Pam and I am a Pinot Geek Permalink