Labels with Luster: Twelve Wine

Photo: Twelve Wine - 2008 Pinot Noir 144

How Spinal Tap and Pinot Noir came together for Twelve Wine.

“The numbers all go to eleven,” Christopher Guest’s Nigel Tufnel explains in the classic rock spoof, This Is Spinal Tap. In this iconic scene in film history, Tufnel is referring to the maximum volume on his guitar’s specially-made amplifier. This punchline supposedly inspired the name of Twelve Winery. Not satisfied with a paltry eleven, John and Linda Lenyo believe their wines go up to twelve instead.

Photo: Twelve Wine - 2008 Pinot Noir 144

Their 12.5-acre estate vineyard yields about 1,200 cases per year from the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA, located in the northwest corner of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Fir Crest, the fields devoted to growing Pinot Noir on the estate vineyard, reach up to 11 (acres). The remaining acre-and-a-half is designated for white varieties, including their signature Pinot Blanc-based white blend.

The vineyard, which is their solitary fruit source, has vines ranging in age from five years old up to 20. This allows the Lenyos a versatile annual harvest of fruit from a singular supply.

As New Jersey transplants, their urban bottle labels reflect an East Coast lifestyle. The design on their Estate Pinot label reveals an eastward-facing crimson clock tower, while the Uh Huh Pinot’s label depicts a bustling subway station.

The number 12 is also a popular motif for these labels. The 12 ballerinas dancing on their 2008 Pinot Noir 144, a nod to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, recently earned the title of “Most Lustrous Bottle.” Graceful, delicate and elegant, the dancers fluidly take their first position on the floor with poise and balance and personifying the wine itself. Earning a pretty 91 points out of 100 from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the Lenyos gladly accepted the compliment for their dainty delectable.

Produced from the oldest vines on the estate vineyard, Twelve made a modest amount of 100 cases of this barrel-select wine.

With fragrant red strawberry and raspberry fruit that gleams sprightly from the glass, the oak spice, smoke and earth aromas are revealed as more air enters the glass. Similar fruit flavors are found on the palate with a medium-body, bright acidity and a finish that widens in its cherry and dry tannin as the bottle empties.

This distinct and beautifully engineered label proudly solicits the posh and polished wine its bottle harbors.

Twelve Wine| 581, NE 3rd St, McMinnville, OR | (503) 435-1212