Vintage, Site, Soil, Clone; A vertical tasting

Seven of Hearts / Luminous Hills recently held a media vertical tasting of Owner and Winemaker Byron Dooley’s first Oregon vintage to his current one, called “Vintage, Site, Soil, Clone: Explore 2006 to 2011 in the Willamette Valley with Byron Dooley.” The tasting focused on pinot noir, with Dooley walking the group through his winemaking process and philosophy. The event also provided the media attendees an excellent opportunity to ask the winemaker questions.

Our flight (click for tech sheets)

Our flight

My favorite was the 2006 Seven of Hearts, followed closely by the 2010 Luminous Hills. Even the oldest wine in this vertical, the 06, has room to open and grow–which is saying something. There was a delicate pepper in the wine that kept unraveling, up to the point that I finished the glass (it was the only wine of the tasting I couldn’t help finishing).

The 07s are drinking extremely well right now, as are the 10s. Of the 08s, I believe Dooley said it best when saying a dog could have made good wine in 08. They are so structured they will age for a while yet. The 11s really probably are my favorite vintage, however. They are delicate and structured, yet even in their youth they are showing great potential. Overall I learned that for Oregon 07, 08, 10 and 11 are pretty superb vintages if the agriculture was handled properly.


I view this series as one of the most high-impact moves of my career in terms of marketing for the winery. This is the perfect way to showcase how consistently Dooley’s winemaking techniques and philosophy are. He follows the old-world style of winemaking, not fine or filtering where possible, never extracting color from grape skins to add darkness to a wine, allowing the terroir to speak through the fruit and always focusing on quality and taste. It allows influential media professionals to sit down, focus on the wine and winemaker, as well as ask any questions they may have. It is an excellent opportunity to convey our story; a special place, the pursuit of a dream, a little luck, and a lot of heart.

Visit our tasting room Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. at 217 W. Main St. Carlton, OR.


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