The Wines of Shea Wine Cellars – A Tasting Review


It should come as no surprise that one of our favorite things to do is taste wine. Well, Grape Radio’s Rusty Gaffney (aka, The Prince of Pinot) invited us to take part in a tasting of wines from Oregon’s Shea Vineyard – specifically, the wines made by Shea Wine Cellars from Estate fruit. It had almost been two years since we had last tasted a flight of wines from this vineyard (2005 vintage – Show 181), so we felt it was high time to take a look at them once again.

Although Oregon grows at least 15 or more varieties of wine grapes, it is the nearly 50,000 acres of Pinot Noir that gets the most attention. Pinot does quite well here, and 9 of the 16 AVAs (American Viticultural Area) in the state are planted to the famous grape of Burgundy. The largest amount of Pinot is in the northwest corner of the state in the Willamette Valley AVA, an area sufficiently diverse to have 7 sub-appellations within its boundaries. Shea Vineyard is located in the one of the Willamette sub-appellations, the Yamhill-Carlton District, officially established in 2005.

Planted by Dick and Deirdre Shea in 1989, the property is 200 acres of which 140 acres are planted to vineyards – 135 acres of Pinot and 5 acres of Chardonnay. The Willakenzie soils in this part of the state make it an ideal site for some world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. After years of selling fruit to some of the West’s best known wineries, Dick and Deirdre founded Shea Wine Cellars in 1996, in order to produce wines from their Estate fruit.

Join us as we dig into 5 wines from the 2007 vintage, to swirl, sniff, and taste Oregon Pinot Noir from Shea Wine Cellars.

2007 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Estate Pinot Noir
2007 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley East Hill Pinot Noir
2007 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Pommard Clone Pinot Noir
2007 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Block 33 Pinot Noir
2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Homer Pinot Noir

For more info on Shea Wine Cellars:

Sponsor: 2010 World of Pinot Noir:

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Show #260
(29:34min 21MB)

14 Responses to “The Wines of Shea Wine Cellars – A Tasting Review”

  1. 1 Emilio Castelli Feb 16th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I liked this format. I might go out and seek one of these bottles to check which of your palates would align most with mine.
    I have a question though. Do you guys eat anything while you taste?
    Thanks for all your shows (especially the one with Jacques Lardiere…).

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Bunch Feb 16th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Yeah, we like it too…don’t know why we don’t use it more??

    Rusty is a stalwart “I don’t eat anything before or during tasting” kind of guy.
    Sometimes I will; sometimes I won’t eat something while tasting.
    Brian could care less. 😉


  3. 3 GrapeRadio Bunch Feb 16th, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Rusty is hard core, he will accept no compromise in his ability to taste. Can’t argue with his palate or professionalism.


  4. 4 Rusty Gaffney MD Feb 20th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I don’t eat anything while tasting, drink water only. I usually taste in the morning 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM when palate is freshest. No coffee or tea before. That said, I save the best wines for dinner later in the day and sample them with food which gives added insight about the wine and provides the most enjoyment. Its a tough job but someone has to do it!


  5. 5 GrapeRadio Bunch Feb 21st, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    To follow on Rusty’s usual routine, I’m ready at 9am or sooner…depending. And then, I will only taste/drink wine if I’m alone or with somebody.


  6. 6 Robby Feb 22nd, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Unrelated topic.

    The “Past Episodes” link seems to have an error? It seems to occur around the “02-12-2007 – ” podcast.

    This weekend I met an interesting fella who is affiliated with the Presque Isle Wine Cellars in North East, PA. He is going to a wine seminar / conference sometime soon in Charlottesville, VA. I introduced him to GrapeRadio and directed him to listed to the Linden Vineyards / Jim Law interviews. Due to this error they are difficult to find.

    Thank you for your great shows and information.

  7. 7 Tim Meranda Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am


    You are such a perfectionist! “Alone or with somebody” really.

  8. 8 GrapeRadio Bunch Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Robby, The technical issue has been repaired. Thanks for the referal. Tere is a google search bar for our site in the top right corner of the site. If you were to type in “Linden” fo example it would pull up all the past shows and any references to it on our site.


  9. 9 GrapeRadio Bunch Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Tim, Which is worse? Eric’s statement or you calling him out for it? 🙂


  10. 10 Tim Meranda Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:10 am


    I didn’t mean to be calling him out for it, I admire his reserve! BTW I too like this format. It will give me a chance to find some of these wines and see how my taste syncs with Rusty’s. I have always enjoyed their pinots in the past.

  11. 11 GrapeRadio Bunch Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Tim, we are cool. I was just jerking your chain. 🙂


  12. 12 JOHN MARTELLY Feb 24th, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Hi guys,
    This was fun. I listened to both shows back to back in order to gain more appreciation for Pinot Noir. I came to the conclusion that I must be drinking the wrong vintages and/or vineyards. Most of what I have tasted always seem to come up about (—) short of being a great wine. I laughed when Rusty spoke of getting the wine to the sides of your tongue to pick up the tannins. It is quite possible I have never experienced a noticable tannin in a Pinot.

    I am heading out to a wine seminar tonight and Pinots will definitly be on my list to buy.

    Also, I like judging wines without food for a couple of reasons. First, when I invite friends over for an evening, we don’t spend as much time eating as we do drinking wine. Therefore I’m looking for a wine that stands on its’ own legs without overpowering the pallet. Secondly, Even when I pair foods I tend to look for wines that compliment a dish like another side dish. Would you serve brussel sprouts and asparagus together? OK, bad example. I don’t want my wines to mask flavors of the food I prepared.

    I also want to say, I like the taste of roasted beets and you would be surprized of how a good zin can class up a Big Mac.

    Viva la Radio de Raisin

  13. 13 ryan Mar 2nd, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Hey Guys,

    What a great tasting. I really have loved the Shea wines for some time. I bought the first vintage released and it’s great to re-visit as often as I can. I haven’t tried the “Homer” wine – I love that he says that the wine is named after hitting a “home run”.

    This was so educational about Shea and Oregon Pinot in general.



  14. 14 kevin brady May 1st, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Great reflection and information on Shea, love the area and wine.

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