You’ll have to do a bit of searching for the Purple Hands Oregon Red Wine 2007, because the ’08 version is on the market. The ’07, however, is a wine of such marked individuality that I urge you to track it down.

This is a product associated with Ken Wright Cellars. If you cast your minds back, you’ll remember when Wright was the winemaker for Domaine Serene and Panther Creek before setting out on his own to make small lots of vineyard designated pinot noir (and a little chardonnay and pinot blanc).

Purple Hands 2007 is a blend of 85 percent merlot, 10 percent pinot noir and 5 percent cabernet franc. Now to many people, myself included, using pinot noir as a blending grape is anathema; pinot noir, the great Holy Grail Grape, stands on its own merits! Yet in Purple Hands ’07, pinot noir lends some fleshiness and spice to a pretty damned seductive wine. It’s warm and funky and meaty, wild and exotic, bursting with black currant, black plum and blueberry scents and flavors that contain hints of cedar and mulberry, lavender, rose petal and gravel. The wine ages 11 months in French oak, only 10 percent of which are new barrels, so wood remains in the background as subtle, supple support. Nothing subtle, though, about the wine’s briery, brambly elements, its touches of damp earth and moss-like tea. A few minutes in the glass bring up layers of fine-meshed, slightly grainy tannins. It’s gratifying to come across a wine that expresses a personality unlike all the other wines out there. Very Good+. About $18-$20.
Purple Hands ’08 should be different; it’s a blend of 50 percent merlot, 35 percent syrah and 15 percent pinot noir.

A sample for review.