Virtual Wine Tasting Featuring Soter Vineyards with Special Guests Founder Tony Soter and Winemaker James Cahill

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 06:00 PM

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"To make a great wine one needs a madman to grow the vine, a wise man to watch over it, a lucid poet to make the wine, and a lover to drink it." - Salvador Dali, Spanish Painter 1904 – 1989


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We are hosting virtual tastings every Wednesday and we have our good friends from Soter Winery founder Tony Soter & winemaker James Cahill with us for this one.  Join us as we welcome one of the top producers from the Willamette valley on Wednesday, October 14th at 6pm EST.  We will be showing four wines from Soter Winery and we have a package of these four wines listed on this e-mail and in the Wine Watch gift Box section at   If you want to follow along you can purchase all four wines in one pack or any of the wines individually on our web page just type in Soter and you will find the selections we are showcasing for the event along with all the wines available from this landmark Willamette Valley winery. 

We invite you to follow along live for this tasting and remember please dress appropriately if you are on our zoom call.

Etude: Inspired Wines of the Carneros | The PinotFile: Volume 9, Issue 24See the source image

Virtual Wine Tasting Featuring Soter Vineyards
with Special Guests Founder Tony Soter and Winemaker James Cahill
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
6:00 PM
See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image
2015 Soter Brut Rose Mineral Springs Willamette Valley
2018 Soter Chardonnay North Valley Willamette Valley
2016 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley Reserve Willamette
2017 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch Willamette Valley
Price: $199
See the source image
Topic: Virtual Wine Tasting with Soter Winery
Time: Oct 14, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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A bit about Soter Winery:
 Life is a highway, its many twists and turns lead you in different directions, but if you follow your heart down a certain path with determination and hard work anything is possible.  One of the modern day examples of this success in the California wine industry is the scholarly and mild mannered Tony Soter.  Soter came out of Pomona College with a degree in philosophy to take his first wine job as a cellar rat at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in 1974.  That was a six-month stint and from there were a couple of other short stints at Stonegate and Spring Mountain where he learned some tricks of the trade from Chuck Ortman. From there he went to Chappellet and worked with another one of the top minds in California winemaking Joe Cafaro.  When Cafaro decided to go on to something else, Tony had already handed in his resignation and was on his way to his first leading role as winemaker at Keenan Winery, but at the last minute Donn Chappellet talked him into staying, a statement to the desperation of the wine industry for warm bodies during that period. 

Soter remembers this time as a great learning experience, as he describes it; "I learned a tremendous amount about how to operate a decent-sized winery, so in 1981, I decided to hang out my shingle as a consultant."  Soter’s list of consulting clients is like a who’s who of the California wine industry including:  Araujo Estate, Dalla Valle, Moraga Vineyards (the only non-Napa winery), Niebaum-Coppola, Spottswoode and Viader, to name a few.  We respected him mostly for his motto of: "I work with people who are serious about making red wines from their own grapes."  Soter's associate in the consultancy at that time was Mia Klein, who also had her own small winery, Selene Cellars.  Soter is the kind of mentor that made it clear that Klein was not an assistant but a co-consultant. "I couldn't cover all the bases in that group without her," he said.  "The idea, too, is that we give the client more comfort, they know that as busy as everybody is, they'll have someone to talk to."  Only people with true confidence in their own ability can inspire others to perform at their peak and to do this you must put them on your own level.

The wine industry is full of horror stories about consultants whose approach is "my way or the highway" but Soter said it would be a "disservice to my client if I tried to impose a Soter style across all the properties.  Besides that, I wouldn't find it very interesting. On the contrary, I look at the property, taste the grapes and try to figure out how the wine should taste, based on what's there.  I also always like to be involved in the grape growing."  Following his philosophy that each estate should be treated distinctly and not given the "Tony Soter Stamp", basic winemaking techniques change from winery to winery.

Tony started his own label in 1982 focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.  The name he chose, Etude Winery, describes his learning process in the wine industry.  Tony explains, "It's built around the theme of the meaning of the word in French, which is 'study.'  In classical music, etudes are practice pieces for performers containing some sort of technical challenge. The better pieces are played for artistic merits as well. The analogy for me as a craftsman of the winegrowing art is that I should focus my attention on aspects of the craft.”  Soter's focus at Etude has always been Pinot Noir because he considers it to be the most technically challenging grape varietal.  "Pinot noir is a great vehicle for studying the effects of winemaking.  It's transparent.  You can readily see what went into making the wine what it is. Also, Pinot Noir doesn't suffer fools.   Make a mistake with Pinot Noir and it shows.  You can make an ordinary Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot or Zinfandel or Syrah and it can still be fun to drink, even if it isn't a great wine. If Pinot Noir isn't really good, you'd rather be drinking another red wine,"

He sold Etude in 2001 to Beringer Wine Estates to pursue his true passion Pinot Noir, in a place where many consider the new world Mecca for this varietal, he literally bet the farm on Oregon Pinot Noir.  His Oregon quest began in 1997 when he and wife Michelle found a 45-acre parcel in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  The vineyard is located on the north fork of the Chehalem Valley, six miles east of the town of Yamhill and ten miles northwest of Dundee.  Planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the vineyard totals 22 acres.  His neighbors include some of the top names in the Oregon wine industry; Beaux Freres, Brick House and Willakenzie.  Soter drew upon the 25 years of winegrowing experience in his careful farming of this vineyard that was originally planted in 1988.  New vines were added in 1998 and 1999, cover crops have been planted to add enriching nutrients to the soils and to assist in erosion control.  Recently the Soter’s were given an Oregon “L.I.V.E.” farming certificate, which acknowledges the sustainable farming practices that have been employed since the Soter’s purchase of the land.  The vineyard management is entrusted to Joel Myers, his associate winemaker and James Cahill oversees the daily operations at the winery. 

The site of Mineral Springs, located east of the town of Carlton, is a source of great excitement to Tony Soter. This is the home base of operations for Soter Vineyards; it is the site of their prize vineyard, winery, tasting lodge, and eventually the Soter home. In short, it is the entire domaine.


Planted to 32 acres of Pinot Noir, this beautiful ridge top just east of the town of Carlton has commanding views of the valley, with mature stands of oak trees and Douglas firs lining the road. Beginning in 2005, the vineyard is producing nicely distinctive fruit.  Becoming stewards to this Oregon land is, in a sense, a return to early familial roots. Both Tony and Michelle spent much of their early lives in Oregon.  Tony was born in Portland and spent his first ten years there.  Michelle was raised in Portland and left when she was eighteen.  With two children, the Soter’s had a desire to own vineyards and create a land-based winery to pass on to the next generation.  We were very saddened to hear about Michelle dying from cancer last year but wish Tony and the rest of the Soter family all the best for the future.  We will always respect and admire the amazing accomplishments of the Soter family and would like to see the next generation take over and carry on the tradition of excellence.

North Valley Pinot Noir sees less new oak than the flagship wines. It is made in a more accessible and versatile format that will give pleasure early and over the medium term.  For North Valley Wines, Tony has partnered with some of the area’s most meticulous and talented growers to assemble wines that reflect the region.  The goal is simple: world-class, sustainably produced Pinot Noir that faithfully represents the inherent purity and delicacy that typify the wines originating in this corner of the world they call North Valley.

All the wines available from Soter Winery:

2015 Soter Brut Rose Mineral Springs Oregon
Price $75.00    Sale $66.00    
(92 Points) "The 2015 Brut Rosé Mineral Springs comes from biodynamically farmed grapes and is made up of 86% Pinot Noir and 14% Chardonnay. Pale to medium salmon-pink in color, it has a pretty nose of white strawberry, rhubarb and fresh raspberries with notions of stone, lime pith and baking bread. Medium-bodied, it’s dry (3.6 grams per liter dosage) with pretty berry fruit, finely textured mousse and a long, fresh finish. This is a very pretty, fresh, approachable style. It was aged on the lees for almost four years. Disgorgement dates are listed on the bottle."             Wine Advocate
2017 Soter Chardonnay North Valley Willamette Valley image
2018 Soter Chardonnay North Valley Willamette Valley
Price: $25.00   Your Price: $22.00
A bouquet filled with golden apple, lemon citrus and white flowers with a touch of honey and light spice and minerality.  Not a big style but very well balanced, nice fruit in the midpalate with a clean finish, a bright and creamy wine on the tongue good balance and a fresh finish.  Finish 40+   Excellent
NEW! 2017 North Valley Reserve Pinot Noir
2016 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley Reserve Willamette
Price: $54.00   Your Price: $39.75      Quantity in stock:65

WINE WATCH REVIEW:  This North Valley Reserve is a selection of the best barrels that go into the North Valley Pinot Noir.   The 2016 was fermented with 15% whole clusters and aged in 40% new French oak. Aromas of wild strawberry, red plum, cherry and vanilla bean spice on the nose with hints of flowers and a touch of earth.  Bright and fruity on the tongue with smooth velvety tannins, anise spice and a nice touch of lightly toasted oak spice. The finish is long and layered, velvety with subtle tannins and a firm hand of acidity holding things together nicely.  Finish 45+  Most Excellent

2017 Soter North Valley Pinot Noir Willamette Valley image

2017 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley
Price: $30.00   Sale $26.40
Wine Watch Review:  A solid core of red and black raspberry fruit with an array of gram cracker spice, pretty floral highlights and some fresh earth, nice complexity on the nose opening up rather quickly.  A strong burst of red cherry berry fruit on the tongue with smooth silky tannins and an array of spice and zesty mineral laced finish, wonderful freshness and balance through the finish, very appealing right now but should continue to drink nicely for a decade or more in your cellar.  Finish 40+  Excellent

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2015 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Willamette Valley
Price: $105.00 Your Price: $92.40

(93 points) The 2015 Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch is pale to medium ruby-purple with a nose of black berries and cherries with crushed rock, cardamom and forest floor nuances. Light to medium-bodied with a strong vein of rocky minerality and dried black tea leaf notes, it has very juicy, mouthwatering acidity and a strong frame of grainy tannins, finishing long with bitters/amaro accents. (EB) (8/2018) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2017 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch Willamette Valley
Price: $80.00   Your Price: $70.40      Quantity in Stock: 4
2017 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch Willamette Valley (375ml)
Price: $45.00   Your Price: $39.60     


MINERAL SPRINGS RANCH (MSR) is a 240-acre Biodynamic farm and vineyard in the heart of Oregon wine country. Mineral Springs Vineyard consists of 40 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay situated along the ridge-line of the property. The combination of respectful farming, ancient marine soils, and temperate climate, result in wines that are layered, nuanced, and captivating while expressing their singular place of origin.

Appellation Series of Pinot Noir
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2017 Soter Pinot Noir Dundee Hills
Price: $60.00   Your Price: $52.80

This bottling represents vineyard sources exclusively from within the Dundee Hills AVA. Made in very limited quantities, these “Origins” series wines are reflections of the personality-driven, regional characteristics from which they hail. Widely recognized, the “Red Hills of Dundee” have been planted since the late 1960’s. Centrally located in the Northern Willamette Valley, this area’s Jory series soils are red-hued, iron rich clay loam of volcanic origins.
Traditional vinification in small, open top fermenters with 20% whole cluster fruit Aged in French oak 33% new, 67% neutral barrels.

2017 Soter Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge
Price: $60.00   Your Price: $52.80
2017 Origin Series Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir. The Northern Willamette Valley is Oregon's most recognized appellation for cool climate wines, and it is in the northern part of this valley where the finest vineyards are found. Wines of the Origin Series are a reflection of the unique climates, geographical features, and growing conditions that embody each distinction region where we source our grapes.

2017 Soter Pinot Noir Eola Amity
Price: $60.00   Your Price: $52.80

The Eola-Amity Hills AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, stretching from the city of Amity in the north to Salem in the south. There are over 100 vineyards and 30+ wineries & tasting rooms in this highly acclaimed winegrowing region.

2017 Soter Pinot Noir Planet Oregon image

 Soter Pinot Noir Planet Oregon 2018         
Price: $21.00       Sale $18.48

Planet Oregon, a new project from one of Oregon's most celebrated winemakers, Tony Soter, aims to always produce a well-priced, delicious, regionally representative, and most importantly, environmentally sustainable Oregon Pinot Noir. For every bottle sold, Tony Soter pledges $1 to the Oregon Environmental Council.Planet Oregon is his chance to make wines for a broader audience and make a bigger positive impact on the planet. He wants Planet Oregon Wines to embody the conscious choice we all have to endorse and support sustainably produced wines.



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