Going with the flow of Pinot Noir, let me spotlight a couple of Oregon Pinot Noir wineries. There’s so many wonderful ones, but if I don’t mention yours, don’t be upset. Too many wines and too little time to visit them all.
I love Pinot Noir and love to experiment with different Pinots from different regions. In my tasting travels I have sipped some of the best Pinot Noir from Oregon as well as California. Do I have a preference for New World Pinot Noir? Some would say yes! I just happen to like the “in your face”, fruit forward taste of some Californian and Oregon Pinot Noir. I’m especially fond of the California 2007 vintage of Pinot Noir as well as Oregon Pinot Noir. New Zealand even makes some good Pinot Noir, but hasn’t found its place yet. Give it some time, though and it’ll get there. New Zealand Pinot Noir can now even be found on wine menus in New Jersey. Give them a try.
Oregon Pinot Noir: Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, the Willamette Valley wineries of Oregon are known for producing great Pinot Noir as well as Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio). The cool microclimates of the Pacific Northwest are conducive to producing great wines where fickle grapes such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are tough to grow. The Willamette Valley of Oregon is the largest of Oregon’s wine producing areas, stretching from Portland to Eugene. The combination of cool marine breezes and great soil encourages complex-ripe fruit flavors that allow Oregon to compete with world renowned regions. The valley is made up 6 sub-regions to better describe the individual microclimates.
Willamette Valley wineries are small and usually family owned. Many have tasting rooms and charge a small fee for sampling (as compared to Napa wineries). Additionally, many of the wineries produce “green wines” using beneficial insects and predators to control harmful pests instead of harmful pesticides.
Some great Oregon Pinot to get your hands on:
Van Duzer Vineyards , family owned, produces Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris with sustainable farming practices. Their wines are hard to find in New Jersey, so if you come across a bottle, pick one up and give it a whirl.
Cherry Hill Winery nestled in the Eola Hills region of the Willamette Valley produces hand crafted Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Rose and Pinot Gris. The Papillion Estate Pinot Noir is a delicious blend of Dijon clones producing a big, bold Pinot Noir. Again, the wines may be difficult to find in a local wine shop but are worth sampling if you visit Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Cubanismo Vineyards is a winery rooted in Cuban heritage also nestled in the Eola Hills area. The winery was launched in 2003 by neurosurgeon Dr. Mauricio Collada Jr. Their wines typify the terrior of the land, producing wines of elegance with bouquets of blackberry, cranberry and spice.
Argyle Winery, found in the Dundee Hills area, produces highly rated wines. Most notable is their Nuthouse Pinot Noir which Wine Spectator rated a 93. Argyle Winery also produces two Chardonnays and a sparkling wine as well. Their wines can be found in New Jersey wine shops, but if you travel to Oregon it’s worth going to their tasting room.
Archery Summit Vineyards, deep in the Dundee Hills area produces Pinot Noirs of complexity and aroma, making old world style wines. Their wines are aged in French oak barrels and in addition use natural pest control in the vineyard.
Oh, there’s so many more great Oregon wineries to list. The list could go on and on!