Oregon Pinot Noir

Great Values and Simply Great Wines

One thing that really stuck out about these wines was their relative delicacy. Now, I won't be confusing too many of these with Burgundy, but the color and texture of most was, in fact, downright Burgundian!  Most of these wines are at their best today and over the near term, say 2 or 3 years or so; my comments are mostly about what the wines are offering today.

The famed earthiness of Oregon's Pinots was apparent in a few of these wines, but what was really striking about these wines, as a group, was the marriage of ripe, sweet fruit to the rather lacy structures.

This is exactly what Oregon should be doing, in my opinion, and this small sample shows that many are doing it very well. My top wine was the superb Winter's Hill Pinot, which I preferred to the pricier Cuvee du Vigneron. The regular bottling had everything one could ask for in a Pinot, and is $20 winery direct.  A stunning value!

The runner-up in our tasting was the Plowbuster, which showed more fruit in a round, supple style, but lacked the finesse, purity, and complexity found in the Winter's Hill. Nonetheless, it's another winner and also a good value at $20.

Two wines from Arcane cellars showed well, but shared an aggressively smoky quality that may integrate with time, making them the only wines of this group that I can see improving noticeably in the cellar. These are well-made wines but all that smoke will be off-putting to many consumers, so they're definitely wines to taste before you buy.  Finishing somewhat at the bottom, but still a wonderful example of Pinot, were the base-level wines from two of the regions leaders: Adelsheim and King Estate. I'm not surprised that these wines lacked some of the distinctiveness of the higher-scoring wines. They are solid standbys and their national distribution makes them worth recommending and remembering.

Finally, the King Estate Acrobat was a pretty simple, easy-drinking style of wine. There is nothing wrong with it, but not much for me to recommend either.

2006 Winter’s Hill Pinot Nor 14.1% 

Buy Directly from Winter's Hill

This is full of forest floor, stem, mushroom and light cherry fruit paired with faint baking spice. It’s a lovely, fresh, and complex nose.  In the mouth, this has a lovely richness, feeling absolutely round and almost lush on the palate. The flavors of fresh berry fruit are wonderful and paired with great inner-mouth perfumes of mushroom, beetroot, sage, and cherry candy.  There is a really nice structural tension in the mouth as well, to the point that you don’t even notice the acidity or the tannins until you look for them. There’s a black cherry medicinal tone on the backend, and the succulent tannins add a hint of refreshing astringency and some stemmy tones that lead to a long, layered, fruit-driven and spice-toned finish. Wonderful Pinot, richly flavored with a lovely texture.  92pts

2007 Plowbuster Willamette Pinot Noir 13%

Pale and more garnet that one would expect from such a youthful wine.  The nose is certainly not fruit-driven but it is subtly complex with a touch of cinnamon Tic-Tac immediately upon pouring that is slowly joined by some quinine, marshmallow, and graham cracker. The notes sound like this is sweet and confected but, somehow, it’s not.  It’s a touch stemmy and that helps offset the sweeter tones but even the fruit, dark and reminiscent of blackberries, doesn’t come off as sweet.  On the palate this has some depth to it and is fairly seamless. It’s a very interesting wine, seemingly combining the best traits of a more fruit forward style without ever losing its sense of restraint. The flavors are a touch minty and earthy with rich wild berry notes that float across the palate.  There’s a little meatiness on the backend and the finish is gentle and moderately with a hint of vanilla to the red cherry fruit.  This is an elegant style of Pinot, not fruit driven nor the most complex, but exceptionally well-balanced and complete and an excellent value. 90pts

2006 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Cuvee du Vigneron 14.1%

With a fruity, new world nose, this is not trying to be something it’s not. There’s just a ton of dark cherry and blue fruit here with vanilla, Oreo cookie, and sweet, toasty oak backing it up.  It’s rich on entry but with great acidity keeping this light and lively. There‘s a fair amount of oak-derived spice, vanilla, and cookie tones in the mouth, too, but the very bright cherry fruit is more than intense enough to never lose one’s attention. The moderate finish is really the wine’s highpoint as the acidity drives the fruit, which is surprisingly fresh, on to a nicely tannic finale.  It’s a wine that captures its sweet fruitiness without becoming vulgar. 90pts

2008 Arcane Cellars Pinot Noir 13%

Nomacorc closure

This smells surprisingly autumnal out of the gate, with leafy, damp soil tones that gain a sweet, slightly confected edge to them.  This is fairly smoky and with the same strong earthiness as the 2007 but with clearer fruit and a spicier edge. It's soft and round in the mouth with good volume and a sense of delicacy, even though it’s not a small wine. There is a distinct grilled meatiness to the wine that battles with the dark raspberry fruit for prominence on the mid-palate, and a top note of burnt orange/tangerine peel.  The finish is light and refreshing with lovely tannins and a hint of vanilla that is a bit off-putting due to the wine’s meaty, earthy character. It’s complex and well-proportioned, but the sweet/earthy dichotomy is a bit jarring.  I think I may enjoy this more than many others will. 88pts

2007 Adelsheim Pinot Noir 12.8%

Another translucent Pinot that makes you want to taste it. This has a touch of meatiness on the nose with lots of spicy porcini tones and notes of forest floor, flowers, and toasted oak over a dark base of cherry with hints of apricot.  Absolutely silky in the mouth with nice acidity that may be a bit pronounced for some palates. The fruit is very crisp and fresh in the mouth and the tannins almost non-existent.  This really develops lovely inner-mouth perfume that is very well-balanced by the fresh fruit. There are note of forest floor and earth with a subtle medicinal edge that leads to a medium length finish that really focuses on the red fruit.  88pts

2007 Arcane Cellars Pinot Noir 13%

Nomacorc Closure

This smells terribly smoky and reduced on opening. With air this reveals a deep, earthy, and bitter root element on the nose that never fully loses that smoky edge but incorporates it into a more layered bouquet that hints at Necco wafers and has elements of bacon and hot iron. In the mouth this has fine, stemmy tannins that support an earthy, meaty palate profile. The raspberry fruit takes a back seat to the distinctly earthy mid-palate, which leads to a light, refreshing finish that ends with some youthful tannins. 87pts

2008 King Estate Pinot Noir 13%

This just looks good, pale but vibrant with a lovely ruby tone. It’s very aromatic as well with cherry, soil, black raspberry and hints of pressed flowers and tree bark on the nose.  This is a lightweight wine but its got very nice pure, fresh Pinot fruit. There’s a hint of spice up front, and a touch of vanilla, but the mid-palate is dominated by red berry fruit with integrated acidity and the softest tannins. It finishes with a nice mineral edge that gives it some mouthgrab and just a hint of heat. It’s got excellent length and is an all around crowd-pleasing style of Pinot, but this is no cocktail wine. 87pts

2008 Acrobat Oregon Pinot Noir 13%

This has a definite creamy edge to the nose with nice backing notes of herb and spice. There’s a nice fruitiness but it is a bit anonymous.  Really flat and a bit loose on entry, but the intensity of flavor quickly plasters over those issues. This is a fun drink, full of sweet, slightly candied red cherry fruit with modest spice notes and a nice finish that is all about the fruit. It’s ultimately a bit simple but well made nonetheless. 86pts

Oregon's Pinots offer Great Value

2007 Plowbuster Pinot Noir
This is a bit of an unusual wine. It's not really fruit-driven, but it does has a noticeable amount of oak on it, and the earthy and herbal complexity of the wine manages to help the light fruit balance out those vanilla and spice tones.  A wine that makes you think, and continues to evolve.

2006 Winter's Hill Pinot Noir
This is just a wonderfully perfumed, delicately balanced Pinot Noir that is perfect for current consumption, and a great value to boot. There are solid notes of forest floor, stemmy herbs, rich fruit, and a dusting of baking spices that create a truly alluring, complex yet accessible package.

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: orwineguy
    417550 7

    Curious where you got the picture?

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:12 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    It was a generic image from a cd of Oregon wine images so I'm not sure what vineyard it shows.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:23 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
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    Is that Mt Rainier? No, wait, thats WA. Any ideas what mountain that is?

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:32 PM

  • Snooth User: Carly Wray
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    I believe it's Mt. Hood.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:45 PM

  • Snooth User: hulachick
    292642 4

    It's Mt Hood (psst, it's even labeled on the map!). Not at tall as Mt Rainier but equally gorgeous. And yes, I live in Oregon!

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:48 PM

  • I'm pretty sure that's Mt. Hood.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:51 PM

  • Snooth User: orwineguy
    417550 7

    I took that picture and it's Mt. Hood. The vineyard is Domaine Drouhin on the Dundee Hills. Not sure how that shot got on a cd... I'll have to check into that. I do a lot of vineyard photography in our area. Mind telling me more about that cd?

    Mar 04, 2010 at 12:59 PM

  • Snooth User: Cochise
    238736 5

    At last, a fine explanation of why the Willamette Valley region produces such great pinot noirs. I lived in Corvallis a while back, which is where I first learned to appreciate what has become my favorite red.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:12 PM

  • Snooth User: jimgullo
    305658 4

    I profiled Delphine Gladhart, the winemaker at Winter's Hill, in this month's issue of MIX Magazine in Portland. #btwowine

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:14 PM

  • Snooth User: Evergreen Vineyards
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    Glad to start seeing Oregon on Snooth!!

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:15 PM

  • Snooth User: Pat Burns
    417706 0

    though we are definitely not Willamette Valley, it's always pleasing to see attention given to the myriad of good Pinot Noirs (& Gris & Blanc) from this State. may I offer up our little corner of Oregon Pinot grape growing? The Rogue Valley AVA and the Illinois Valley in particular produce some lovely wine and surprising values IMHO PAB/Foris

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:29 PM

  • Snooth User: Constance Chamberlain
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    The Winter's Hill sounds right up my ally!
    I'm opening a Sonoma Coast Pinot right now... Fort Ross -- will keep you posted how it is! :)

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:32 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    I've sent you a private message.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:36 PM

  • Snooth User: mmrmaid
    304930 42

    i am a HUGE proponent of willamette valley pinot noirs!! domaine serene is delightful - and even beat domaine de la romanee'-conti in blind taste tests for the 99-00 vintages! sineann pinot noir is also fantabulous; i love their sexy glass cork, as well! matello brings an interesting twist to the equation, with a little bit fuller body and more structure than is typical, but still delish....

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:40 PM

  • Bravo! When given the choice, I always choose a Willamette Valley Pinot over a Californian Pinot every time.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 1:42 PM

  • Agreed. The Willamette Valley creates some truly fantastic Pinot. Living in Portland, we seem to take for granted just how close and abundant the amount of great wine is available to us.

    If anyone who is ever in the Willamette Valley, and you are looking to do a little tasting, I highly recommend the following:

    My personal favorite - Natalie's Winery & Estate. Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon I've ever tasted.

    Torii Mor - Incredible Pinot and a fantastic setting.

    Stoller Farms - If the view doesn't get you, the abundant and variety of their wines will.

    Panther Creek - Located in the town of McMinnville, it's a smaller tasting facility but they make up for it in their wine.

    And if you're thinking of staying in wine country, may I recommend the famous (infamous, actually) McMenamins HOTEL OREGON. Google it. The rooftop bar is all you need to know. :)


    Mar 04, 2010 at 3:18 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    I'll be in wine country this coming July. I'll be stopping by the rooftop bar at least once. That might be enough!

    Mar 04, 2010 at 3:31 PM

  • Snooth User: cleere
    97952 57

    Since I have been in CA, I have not really had much pinot from Oregon, but we had a distributor in the restaurant I work in with some samples and now I realize I should branch a little more and get back to some of the wines I love from other places!!

    Mar 04, 2010 at 3:31 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
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    Greg, you might want to visit the bar twice, once for the beers and once for the wines.

    Philip, definitely Mt. Hood. Quick winter mountaineering, accessed from Portland. Good windsurfing on the Columbia near there in summer, too, though I'm afraid I've done more waterskiing in the area myself.

    And Greg, thanks for putting together the article on Willamette and its pinots, something I've been lobbying for for awhile. Interesting to see, once again (after last Thanksgiving), the number of responses from the Oregon wine crew within just a very few hours. Wonder if it'd be the same during summer months? ;-)

    Walla Walla next?

    Mar 04, 2010 at 3:54 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
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    Oh, and Greg, jenna, jimmyvino and mmrmaid, might I next suggest a blind taste-off between the best of Oregon and of the True Sonoma Coast?

    Mar 04, 2010 at 3:56 PM

  • Snooth User: LisaTillis
    221025 13

    These Oregon wineries - Rex Hill, Amity Vineyards and Dundee Springs - also make some really great wines. The Pinots are excellent. I am a devout ABC, but Rex Hill offered a Chardonnay that even I could not turn down. We have been ordering Oregon wines and shipping to our home on the east coast since we visited OR in 2002.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:02 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
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    Just finished the tasting notes, and definitely think another piece on Oregon pinots (I'm standing by my blind taste-off proposal) is in order not too far down the line. Try to include some Auteur Shea's Vineyard, Drouhin and Soter in the Oregon lineup... ;-)

    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:13 PM

  • Snooth User: pinotgeek
    417784 1

    dmcker... Courtney from Soter here. Thanks for mentioning Soter in your lineup. Let us know what you think...


    We're glad to see so many Oregon fans...


    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:17 PM

  • Snooth User: babuz1
    203937 6

    Winter's Hill has a really nice Pinot Rose too. Animee good Pinots too. I am glad to see some better whites coming from the Oregon wineries, grapes often being grown now down in Rogue River area.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:32 PM

  • when thinking about Oregon Pinot Noir one should also look at the cool new Columbia Gorge AVA....Phelps Creek, Wy"east and Phesant Valley have been garnering nice accolades

    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:45 PM

  • Snooth User: KIWIwines
    352690 32

    See for New Zealand Pinot Noir wines http://www.wijnhandelkiwi.nl.
    These are good too!

    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:49 PM

  • Snooth User: wildtable
    305173 3

    Gregory, the 2006 Winter's Hill Pinot Noir (love that wine!) is $29 and the 2008 is $20.

    Great write up on Willamette Valley Pinots. Thanks.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 4:54 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    You're absolutely right. I wasn't paying enough attention.
    Well that explains a bit of it. So it's not the outrageous value I thought it was, it's simply a great value.

    Still love the wine and can't wait to visit in July!

    Mar 04, 2010 at 5:06 PM

  • Snooth User: jimmsl
    219246 1

    Great to see the OR Pinot's get there due. There are great wine country tours on Valentine's Day weekend and Thanksgiving Weekend - we prefer the T'Day - Friday. Often the wineries have music, food, chocolate, and other local delicacies for tasting along with the wines. Rex Hill is just off 99, but Sokol Blosser and Torii Mor are among our favorites.

    Favorite OR wine story - while in Overland Park, KS on a consulting project, I went into a local, supposedly high end "Italian" restaurant and ordered an OR wine. When they proudly brought it for tasting the server said it was a Willamette Valley wine ,- he pronounced it "wii-a-MET" - when I gently corrected him that it was actually "will-AM-ett" he responded, "Wow, you REALLY know your wine!"

    Enjoy the OR Pinots - BTW - the Pinot Gris are also great, not just the reds.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 5:18 PM

  • Snooth User: russell1
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    I' so glad you enjoyed our wines (I am one of the owners of Winter's Hill Vineyard). I see someone already corrected the price to $29 for the 2006 Dundee Hills. The view of Mt. Hood was superb this morning as I came to work. The valley floor was covered in fog, but as I drove up the hill, I emerged into the sunshine and you could see the mountains clearly.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 6:05 PM

  • Snooth User: rspoerl
    417822 1

    Wow - only 10 tasted? There are over 300 wineries in Oregon, and three times as many vineyards. If you are looking at WV wines, I highly recommend checking out Benton Lane Winery. My local favorite.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 6:09 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
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    rspoerl, but then there are 3,000 wineries in California, more than that many in France, nearly 1/2 that many in Italy, etc., etc. So much wine, so little time to taste and space to cover it. And then Greg has to deal with the problem of who'll send him samples for tasting, too.

    Courtney/pinotgeek, served your 2003 Beacon Hill Brut Rosé this past Thanksgiving to a large gathering at my home, and plenty of accolades, as talked about here:
    And earlier commented on here:

    Very much like your still Beacon Hill pinot, too...

    Mar 04, 2010 at 7:17 PM

  • Snooth User: Eric Guido
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    Great write up Greg. My favorite Pinot from Oregon is from Evesham Wood, not sure if you ever had but I would highly recommend. Love the earth that can be found in the wines of this region.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 8:34 PM

  • Snooth User: mikeakay
    205453 6

    I am in Texas but I keep up with oregon wines at oregonpinotnoir.com Robert Wolfe has been writing about them for years. Cudos to rspoerl for mentioning Benton Lane, good wines indeed. Hard to imagine Oregon pinot noirs discussed with out Patti Green or Ken Wright being mentioned. I am sure this article will get you lots of response. Great job and thanks for doing it.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 10:03 PM

  • Snooth User: cfraser
    82282 1

    Glad to see Soter Vineyards mentioned here. From Beacon Hill to Mineral Springs, Tony Soter's Pinots are some of my favorites.

    Mar 04, 2010 at 11:21 PM

  • Snooth User: MSG3003
    71735 15

    So glad to see the recognition for OR Pinots - a few notables missing:

    Argyle - from $29 - $60, making outstanding and readily available Pinots

    Archery Summit - very high end stuff with some of the most complex and storable Pinots in the Valley

    Erath - a wide range of Pinots from the everyday to the special occasion wines

    Penner-Ash - with a modern gravity-flow winery, they produce some very fine vineyard-specific wines (I'm partial to the Shea Vineyard Pinot)

    Mar 05, 2010 at 1:36 AM

  • So great to see this much lively debate and good comments about OR wines. I just got back from working the 09 vintage with Yamhill Valley Vineyards in McMinville AVA (planted 1983) and I belive the 09 wines from all over OR are of a very high standard.

    Mar 05, 2010 at 6:04 AM

  • i love cloudline and duck pond pinots

    Mar 05, 2010 at 7:37 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    Thanks everyone for the kind words and great suggestions. I am really looking forward to my upcoming visit to Oregon and will take advantage of your suggestions then. Looks like I should make reviews of Oregon Pinots a regular feature on Snooth!

    Mar 05, 2010 at 8:48 AM

  • Snooth User: umpquawineau
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    On your visit to Oregon I suggest that you stop at the first post-prohibition winery in the state. This winery is also the first to plant Pinot Noir. This winery owner was the motivation for Papa Pinot to move here from CA. There are still some of the original planting from 1961 here.

    And guess what, it's not in the Willamette Valley! It's in the AVA that took the Double Gold for best top priced Pinot Noir in the state, according to the Oregon Wine Awards held in Portland. It's an AVA that can do much more than just Pinot Noir, beautiful Syrah's and Cab Sav. Imagine.

    I speak, of course, for everyone knows that the Father of Oregon wine industry was Richard Sommer, who founded the HillCrest Vineyard outside Roseburg, Oregon in 1961, long before David made his way from CA. Richard was the pioneer that defied the Davis people, who said you couldn't grow grapes in Oregon, and did it anyway.
    That spirit still exists in the UMPQUA VALLEY AVA.

    Like many other writers, you do a disservice to Oregon by implying that we can only do one varietal here and only in the Willamette Valley. I sincerely hope that you do stop by the Umpqua Valley, you will be amazed at the diversity and quality of our wines.

    Mar 05, 2010 at 11:32 AM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
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    This may be our most commented on thread...

    Mar 05, 2010 at 11:34 AM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
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    Certainly so, Philip, if you take it in combination with the Thanksgiving piece on pinots that Greg links to at the beginning of this article...

    Mar 05, 2010 at 1:18 PM

  • Snooth User: ksimback
    226880 33

    I'd like to second the recommendations by MSG3003 - Archery Summit makes some of the most complex and ageable pinots I have ever tasted. While visiting the winery a few months back I got to try the Arcus Estate bottling from the 1999 vintage right along side the 2006 and it was fantastic! The secondary aromas were really coming into their own and the structure was still there - could go for another 5 years. Definitely put Archery Summit on the high-end list - it won't disappoint.

    In terms of the high-end ($50+ range), I would say these are all knockouts:

    -Archery Summit - Arcus Estate and Renegade Ridge
    -Domaine Serene - Evenstad Reserve
    -Evening Land - Seven Springs

    Mar 05, 2010 at 1:21 PM

  • Great article. We enjoy pairing Oregon Pinot Noir with grilled Atlantic Salmon in the DesBarres Manor Inn dining room. The Firesteed Pinot Noir was one of our fall wine picks. A great value Pinot from Oregon that we were pleased to recommend.


    Mar 05, 2010 at 5:10 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    Salmon, nicely smoky, paired with Pinot Noir can be magically. I like my salmon with a bit of chipotle heat to it!

    Mar 05, 2010 at 5:23 PM

  • Snooth User: kyber7
    142293 1

    I visited Oregon on business a few years back and my main focus for my limited free time was the Willamette Valley wineries. We had an excellent experience tasting the most beautiful Pinot Noirs I've ever had. I hand carried as many bottles back to the east coast as I could manage. I ended up hosting an Oregon Pinot Noir wine tasting for my friends with the following line-up:

    2002 Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley
    2004 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills
    2004 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve
    2002 Laurel Ridge Wirtz Vineyard Reserve
    2002 Laurel Ridge CMV Reserve
    2002 Anne Amie Yamhill Springs Vineyard

    It was my best ever tasting. My more experienced wine friends were mostly newbies to Oregon wines and were amazed at the style and quality. I still dream of the Anne Amie and the Laurel Ridge was outstanding. Wow!

    Mar 05, 2010 at 9:54 PM

  • Snooth User: Greenbird
    419913 1

    I would recommend Black Walnut Inn (Dundee, 9 room inn with incredible views of the Valley) or The Allison (newer sustainable minded resort in Newberg) - much more wine country style if your pocket book can handle it! Hotel Oregon is nice, but the rooms are marginal and comfort of the beds is not the best. Noise from the hallway is also a problem if you are a light sleeper. Brookside Inn on Abbey Road offers a slightly lower price than the other two above and Bruce & Susan are great hosts. Also, for a really unique stay - try Abbey Road Farm and stay in converted silos. Pretty cool options in the region.

    Mar 07, 2010 at 11:52 AM

  • My absolute favorite Oregon Pinot is Archery Summit- either their Looney Hills or Renegade. The cost makes them more of a "special occassion" wine (starting at about $68 direct from the winery) but they are fabulous and worth every penny! I've been a fan for about 10 years, and have been an "A List" member for the past year. Even their entry level Pinot the Premier Cuvee is fabulous! Their winery is incredibly beautiful as well, especially on a beautifull sunny northwest day!

    Mar 09, 2010 at 4:24 PM

  • Snooth User: jedlin
    220398 3

    Do try Cardwell Hill Cellar's Estate Pinot Noir, as well as their Reserve Pinot and their Pinot Gris, great representatives of Willamette Valley.

    Mar 10, 2010 at 1:13 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
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    Super recommendations all around. The Allison looks spectacular but I don't have the budget for it...yet!

    Mar 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
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    So what are the chances of that Willamette/Sonoma Coast taste off? I'll personally be happy if Auteur (Shea), Beaux Frères, Soter, Drouhin and a few others make it in from Oregon, and Auteur (Sonoma), Aubert, Rivers-Marie, Hirsch, Martinelli, Marcassin and a few others from the Sonoma Coast... ;-)

    Mar 16, 2010 at 3:06 AM

  • Hi Gregory, I read your article with interest. I recently drank a 2005 Thea's Selection Pinot from Lemelson's (Willamette Valley).

    My Australian wife, a lover of Tasmanian and NZ Pinot, had cooked a meal to go with a New World Pinot Noir, and we were looking forward to trying our first PacWest Pinot, but we were bitterly disappointed.

    It was, as you say, over-ripe, goopy, soupy and candied - nothing like what we were expecting. Obviously we weren't counting on a Burgundian style of wine, but this was unrecognisable as Pinot Noir. We both thought it was more akin to a South Australian Shiraz. So much for climate and soil hey?

    As I live in the UK, we have quite a limited selection of Oregon Pinots, but I am loathe to part with more cash for something that may not be identifiable as Pinot Noir. If you have any recommendations for me to seek out in earnest over here across the pond, I'd be most grateful.

    Kind regards


    Mar 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM

  • Snooth User: jsmart
    378093 15

    I am a big fan of the Umpqua Valley... my favorite wineries in the Umpqua Valley are Reustle Prayer Rock and Hillcrest. Reustle Prayer Rock offers up an amazing tasting experience and Hillcrest has the oldest estate vineyard in Oregon and was the first in Oregon to produce Pinot Noir. Both wineries produce wonderful wines. If you are ever in southern Oregon you should check them out.

    Mar 29, 2010 at 12:52 AM

  • As an owner of August Cellars, I find this conversation fascinating. The big wineries that are continually mention, the domains, Archery Summit, Annie Amie from 2000-2004, are all wineries that use a high percentage of new oak. Whereas the smaller wineries, ie, Winter Hill, August Cellars, Airilie use a smaller percentage. Thus focusing on fruit flavors rather than a bigger tanin structure. I am a fan of older Pinot Noirs that have cherry flavors with some spicyness.

    August Cellars

    Apr 08, 2010 at 8:04 PM

  • Snooth User: civiletti
    192021 20

    2008 is a great year for Oregon PN; 2007 not so good. Some of the best I've had are from Lemelson. Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene make great, albeit expensive PN. There are some great small producers in the Carlton area. Several produce at Carlton Winemakers Studio. Domaine Coteau is another favorite of mine.

    Apr 09, 2010 at 12:48 PM

  • Snooth User: eacarrr
    205497 20

    I believe Row 11 Pinot is from Oregon, and it's delish! And I'm not even a pinot guy

    Apr 23, 2010 at 1:08 AM

  • Snooth User: RamonG
    448652 81

    Glad to see some kudos to Archery Summit Pinots.
    My buddy is a wine club member so I get a taste here and there.
    I just bought a Pinot from Ponzi winery. Anyone know if it's any good?

    May 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM

  • Snooth User: Pinotgal
    548475 2

    One word...Sass wine from Oregon (or two words actually, Jerry Sass, winemaker). It's got heart AND soul. :)

    Aug 05, 2010 at 2:57 PM

  • Snooth User: Pinotgal
    548475 2

    One word...SASS wine from Oregon (or two words actually, Jerry Sass, winemaker). It's got heart and soul. :)

    Aug 05, 2010 at 2:58 PM

  • To KIWIwines: I clicked on the link and it took me to a non-English essay on NZ Pinots. Do you have a link to an English-language site?

    Aug 05, 2010 at 3:31 PM

  • Snooth User: grumpduck
    344774 6

    jsmart, kudos for the Reustle find, a real out of the way place but worth the hunt. If anyone is near Reustle in your travels it is not to be missed, some surprising finds. My consistently favorite Pinot is Eyrie always around 90 on my list. If you are in McMinnville for a wonderful local by the glass list try La Ramba a Tapa Bar with great food (Happy Hour IS just that).

    Aug 05, 2010 at 11:29 PM

  • Hey...you got it right this time. Did you taste any wines from Eola vineyards? Also, the 2005 La Nuit Magic from Erath in Dundee ROCKS!!!

    Aug 06, 2010 at 10:19 AM

  • Snooth User: Htown
    549161 1

    I've also tried a few small vintage pinots...Retour...Lindsey Woodard winemaker and both the Hammacher & H labels are excellent. Have you tried these?

    Aug 06, 2010 at 12:16 PM

  • Snooth User: kcaste
    318204 21

    some of my favorites are domaine serene, archery summit, ken wright, and patricia greene.

    Aug 06, 2010 at 12:21 PM

  • Sooo... One of my favorite OR Pinot's so far has been a Carlton Cellars wine, don't remember which one but it had a picture of Road's End (the beach) on it, 2006 or 2007(?). The vineyard sets adjacent to a block of Ken Wright's ground. The wine opened like all too many Oregon Pinot's, too fruity, but then took me on one of the most enjoyable wine rides I've ever been on. By the time I was an hour+ 1/2 into that wine I was floored particularly with the incredible nose! And for a consistent winner try Cameron's stuff, yummmm!

    Aug 08, 2010 at 7:16 AM

  • I don't think anyone has even mentioned one of my favorite wineries in Oregon - St. Innocent. Great pinots and great prices. Though they lost the Seven Springs vineyard to Evening Land, the new wines from Momtazi and Zenith are not to be missed and affordable!

    Aug 12, 2010 at 1:58 PM

  • Snooth User: TKz
    230985 8

    We are very grateful for the incredible pinots in Oregon. If you do have a chance to visit the Newberg/Dundee area, stop by The Allison or Farm to Fork for great food and a nice break!

    Aug 12, 2010 at 11:31 PM

  • what a fascinating exchange - Greg, I recall sending you a message quite some time ago about how much I love Pinot Noir but found myself feeling odd ordering/buying it after the stupid movie came out praising it. As I was reading this article, my wife came home from the Costco store and said she picked up a wine she had never heard of, Torii Mor (which I have had before). What timing. BTW- as a long time fan of Pac West wines and member of Quilceda Creek, I finally got a spot on the Leonetti Cellars mailing list after waiting nearly ten years. Both budget busting wineries, but incredible.

    Aug 14, 2010 at 1:47 PM

  • Snooth User: TKz
    230985 8

    Q Creek-Freak--Torii Mor has several incredible pinots. Their port is very good too. It's always one of my stops when taking guests through the wine country.

    Aug 14, 2010 at 4:05 PM

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