- VineLine Dispatches from Harvest 2019
- ‘Slow and steady harvest’ forecast for Northwest grapes in 2019
- VineLines Dispatch: Northwest wineries fill lists of USA Today readers
- Koenig wins Idaho Wine Competition for new owners
- Bledsoe Family Winery set to open tasting room in Oregon
- Northwest vineyards track along 2017 vintage after cool July
- Idaho wine industry prepares for 10th annual judging
- Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance hires Robert Hansen as executive director
- 2019 American Wine Society conference casts spotlight on Pacific Northwest
- BC wine industry loses a lion with passing of Harry McWatters
The elegance of Oregon Pinot Noir
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is on the edge of viticultural viability – and that’s where Pinot Noir seems to be most comfortable.
Every vintage, intrepid grape growers and winemakers do everything in their power to bring Oregon Pinot Noir to its optimal ripeness before autumn rains come along. In the case of the crazy 2013 vintage, they were working in between massive rainstorms.
How do they do it? Low yields, impossibly complex use of various clones of Pinot Noir, different rootstocks, experimenting with elevations and different hillsides and, of course, soil types. Once those grapes are in the winery, the use of different yeasts and barrel programs help winemakers guide their wines to the ultimate goal: elegance.
And that’s what Oregon Pinot Noir is all about. Elegance begets complexity, and bottle age can result in something amazing.
The Willamette Valley is a massive American Viticultural Area, stretching from the Columbia River in the north past Eugene in the south. Arguably, the most interesting area of the Willamette Valley is to the north, where six additional AVAs have been carved out in the past decade. Regions such as the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville and Yamhill-Carlton are just a few miles apart from each other, yet each brings its own style of Pinot Noir that, amazingly, is evident across producers.
Let’s take a look at a dozen Oregon Pinot Noirs we’ve tasted in recent weeks.