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Favorite Domestic (Oregon) Pinots?

  • w

I just really started getting into some Oregon Pinot Noirs -- with the sediment and all! I was never a fan of French Pinots, but for some reason I'm really digging this Oregon bottle of Pinot I'm finishing up right now!

Curious to know if anyone has some remarkable recs?


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  1. I have really enjoyed the wines from White Rose in Oregon.

    1. Soter

      Domaine Serene (for the Evenstad Reserve and Grace Vineyard) - these, espeically the Grace Vineyard, though, are many $$$ for what they are.

      Le Cadeau

      Ken Wright (for a slightly more restrained style)

      8 Replies
      1. re: whiner

        There are so many OR wines I’m fond of; a few to add to whiner's list...

        - Westrey
        - Gypsy Dancer
        - Chehalem
        - Benton Lane
        - Francis Tannahill (plus "A to Z" for qpr)
        - La Bete
        - Penner Ash
        - Shea
        - Domaine Drouhin
        - Patton Valley

        1. re: vinosnob

          These are all in the $20-30 range
          Cathedral Ridge
          Montinore Estate
          King Estate

          1. re: washingtonred

            argyle, easily found and user friendly.

            1. re: TBird

              Favorites are the Chehalem and Domaine Serene...

              ...and I think there's a HUGE increase in quality when you jump to the Reserves,
              for any winery. Tasted about 40 Oregon Pinots one day, and that was my overwhelming take from the tasting. The regular releases can be hit or miss, but the Reserves I fell in love with.

              1. re: maria lorraine


                Funny you should point that out. I've noticed a bigger gap in quality among the more expensive OR pinots compared to their less expensive counterparts from the same house, as well. Certainly, for Domaine Serene the difference between the Yamhill and the Evenstad Reserve is mindboggling, you are right (and the difference between the Evenstad and the Grace vineyard can be huge, as well).

          2. re: vinosnob

            I also like Patricia Green, Willa Kenzie, Owen Roe, sometimes Adelsheim.

          3. re: whiner

            Love the Ken Wrights but restrained ?????

            1. re: jock


              I would deffinitely say that compared to Soter, the upper-level Domaine Serenes, and Le Cadeau, Ken Wrights are more restrained. Not relative to OR generally, necessarily, but relative to the other ones I really like.

          4. Thomas, Dom Drouhin, Ken Wright, Brickhouse - Les Dijonnais (in particular)

            1. Belle Vallee Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($22) and Erath Pinot Noir Prince Hill Vineyard ($40)

              1. Argyle Nuthouse
                Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve

                Those are my two favorites. Both should be available for around $45.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mengathon

                  I tried the 2004 Nuthouse earlier this summer and agree it was very good. Picked up a couple extra for holiday entertaining.

                2. Cloudline is a very reasonable tasty Oregon Pinot. We also enjoy Domaine Drouhin pinots.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: huruta

                    Cristom Mt. Jefferson Pinot....delicious!

                  2. St Innocent has been a long standing favorite of mine as well

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ibstatguy

                      O'Reilly's at $17 is hard to beat. Most of the Sineann lineup is excellent at between $30 -$40.

                    2. O'Reilly's is sold out, tried to get a case Saturday.
                      The next in-line value Oregon PN is A-Z, should be less than $20. Working on getting a case of that juice.
                      Lots of PN in the $30-40 range, The big names are $45-50 and up.

                      1. I buy some Ken Wright Cellars and St Innocent every year. I recently had the 2005 Ponzi Willamette Valley couvee and thought it was a good pinot for $25. This year I have been using A to Z wineworks' Willamette Valley as my every day type Pinot, in past years it was Argyle but they were better at $16 than at $24.

                        1. Remarkable recs:

                          Oregon Pinot Noir is very vintage-specific, IMO.

                          Focus on 2002's from the Willamette Valley. If you can't find them, then the '03's. 1999's were also exceptional but will not be easy to find. 2004 and 2005 were rather mediocre years in Oregon.

                          Since you ask for 'Domestic" Pinot, good California bottlings are, IMO, going to be easier to find, especially in recent vintages.

                          As a place to start, try the Sonoma Coast & Sonoma RRV: 2005's are excellent as are the 2003's. 2004 also quite nice. '01 and '02 probably the best of the past ten years if you can find them.

                          Other great recent vintages: Santa Rita Hills 2005s, Santa Lucia 2004's,

                          Those are good places to start, discuss these vintages with your wine supplier(s) and see what they would recommend;.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Chicago Mike

                            Agree that Oregon Pinot is particularly susceptible to variation from year to year but I wouldn't remotely suggest that '04 or '05 should be avoided out of hand. We were there this past spring and drinking mostly '04 new releases and '03 single vineyards and there were some very good wines, particularly from Willakenzie, Penner Ash, Bergstrom, Archery Summit, some from Elk Cove. I just recently got in some '05 Penner Ash Willamette Valley that was beautiful.

                            FWIW, Parker and Spectator ratings for the vintages are as follows (and I provide this primarily to show that opinions on recent vintages certainly vary) ->
                            '05 - 85RP, 90-95WS
                            '04 - 86RP, 95WS
                            '03 - 88RP, 88WS
                            '02 - 92RP, 96WS

                          2. I tried a Broadley Vineyards "Estate" Pinot over the weekend and was very impressed. I was not familiar with Broadley but looking forward to finding/trying more.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                              I am beholden to Ken Wright's wonderful, vineyard specific pinot noirs. I also tried an Archery Summit this fall that impressed me.

                              The Domaine Serene and Domaine Drouhin wines are great, if somewhat overpriced.

                              The O'Reilly's mentioned by another poster is phenomenal at around $16. The 2006 is already drinking very nicely (although, as mentioned, may be difficult to find).

                              Ponzi is inconsistent, but I have had some that I like.

                              Have enjoyed some Cristom wines.

                              Have not yet tried wines from Beaux Freres, which is supposed to be one of Oregon's best producers. Not exactly easily available.

                              1. re: anewton

                                If you enjoyed the Broadley "Estate" Pinot, search out their "Claudia's" choice, one step above. Nice family run operation in Monroe, Or.

                                I have a case of Beaux Freres, not cheap but a very big PN in the Domaine Serene or Archery Summit style.

                                I live in Eugene and am blessed with the Oregon Wine Company that is located here. I am able to get the most current and rare releases. They have a great website where you can search their inventory.


                                1. re: duck833

                                  curious as to how you'd compare OWC to Marche Provisions.

                                  1. re: ibstatguy

                                    Totally different stores. OWC really specializes in small producer Oregon wines, primarily PN's. They have a lot of them and built their business model around that. They don't carry hardly any Calif juice, no French juice and a limited supply of whites.

                                    Provisions is a nice place to find a bottle at times. They have Oregon PN's as well as some other wines from the whole spectrum. Much more limited selection in terms of quantity but more diversity in types of wine.

                                    I have not compared the two price wise regarding PN's, might do that this week, good research.

                                    BTW, OWC is bailing out of Eugene. They have closed their wine bar as of 12/31 and are looking to relocate in Newburg some time in 2008. I will miss them.

                                    1. re: duck833

                                      Ryan at Provisions might be very supporitve of getting those small producer NOs for you. It s always disappointing when a favorite place closes.

                                2. re: anewton

                                  "I am beholden to Ken Wright's wonderful, vineyard specific pinot noirs."

                                  Which ones specifically?

                                  We just bought some Kingdom Hill and Shea (2006) this weekend on a recommendation - we're hoping these are as good as we were told.


                                  1. re: anewton

                                    A great way to try Beaux Freres is just to head out to Oregon for Thanksgiving. Almost all the wineries in the state and in SW Washington open their doors for what is basically a three-day boozefest. I have very fond memories of eating a lamb burger with blue cheese while drinking pinot noir on a sunny patio at Erath.

                                    A couple years ago during one of these T-day open houses, I was lucky enough to elbow my way into Beaux Freres. As you can imagine, the barn where they held their tasting was completely mobbed. But we got to taste a lot of reserves as well as current releases in a way that is just not possible anywhere else. As far as taste, Beaux Freres is bigger than a lot of Oregon pinots (it is half owned by Robert Parker, right?) and will require a laydown of a few years. Just too tannic to drink early, in my opinion. But if you like Domaine Serene (yummers!) you would like Beaux Freres. It's not going to be any cheaper, though.

                                    For the price, I like Chehalem.

                                3. The Ken Wright 2006's were just released about middle of November. I have not wanted to open one just now, they are just to soon in the bottle. I am going to lay my 2006's down for at least three years. I believe the two vineyards you have will be great. I love all the wines I get where the winemaker is using Shea fruit.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: duck833

                                    Thanks so much for the information!

                                    1. re: vinosnob

                                      I had it at a restaurant - no tasting notes. General recollection is that it was eminently drinkable and reasonably priced, but it didn't knock my socks off.

                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                        I bought a couple of bottles about a year and a half ago, so probably not the same vintage that is in the stores right now. The wine store guy recommended it to me, but it didn't do anything for me. Not bad, but I've had better for the price. I wound up giving the second bottle away...

                                    2. Their website shows retail price of $20.00. Not bad for an Oregon PN.

                                      1. I was very impressed by the '02 Archery Summit Arcus estate that I had last summer. I've also had a very nice Argyle(although without my notes, I can't remember the vintage). I'm still partial to the Cote de nuits though, especially around Gevry Chambertin

                                        1. Siduri makes only Pinot Noir .. they use grapes from Oregon for some of their wines (i think all are single vineyard) and I've always thought their wines great.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: oliveoyl

                                            Late answering a question re: which specific Ken Wright wines I like:

                                            Had a bottle of the 2003 Carter Vineyard which blew we and my wife away (won't be able to get any now, but you may be able to find 2005).

                                            Also like Angela vineyard.

                                          2. I believe Ken Wright uses six different vineyards. They released 2006 in the middle of November. I was fortunate and got 28 bottles of various vineyards last week. DW also bought me a case of 2007 futures for X-mas. If you are lucky you might still score some KW somewhere. I bought out the Oregon Pinot Noir Club, so don't try there.

                                            To the AZ folks I noticed that AJ's had several cases in the wine selection, I don't remember which vineyards.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: duck833

                                              I've gone back and forth betwee Ken Wright vineyards as to my favorite, but the one that is always at the top of the list, or near the top ofthe list, despite vintage, is the Shea Vineyard.... just, fwiw.

                                              1. re: whiner

                                                You might want to consider getting some Ken Wright 2007 futures right now. Very limited 2007 harvest, if you don't buy the futures you will probably will not be drinking it. I ordered a case of his Shea Vineyard 2007 futures. Might get some more also.

                                            2. Dukes Family Vineyards is a new producer that I predict will quickly be recognized as top tier. Their first release - 2005 Alyssa is a sensational first effort.

                                              1. stick to the Domaine Serene 2005. Its $45 but thats not alot if you compair to good french or california pinots. When you go to a new wine area or a new grape always start with a great bottle if you can. If you try cheaper ones the poor quality may scare you away. I'm having a bottle right now and its drinking perfect. It opens up after 30-45 minutes and the fruit is right on. see ya...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kevin25

                                                  Domaine Serene makes at least 4 different Pinots. I assume kevin is suggesting the Evenstad Reserve which is, indeed, a nice wine. If you see the Yamhill for $45, run away -- it should be $35 and it is no where near as good. On the other hand, if you see the Grace Vineyard for $45, back up the truck.

                                                2. Though I usually eschew New World Pinot Noir, I've been impressed with St. Innocent's wines. A bit of gout de terroir rather than just cherries and oak.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: chefdilettante

                                                    very nice wines that have typically been very fairly priced

                                                  2. 2004 belle pente pinot noir estate reserve is outstanding

                                                    i also like raptor ridge as a standard go-to pinot

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      Today I was at Ponzi & neighboring Cooper Mountain.
                                                      Really liked Cooper's 2006 Pinot Reserve, $24, hints of raspberry.
                                                      Bought their "Old Vines" Pinot Gris 2006, made from vines planted in 1978, also 2006 Pinot Blanc Vin Glace dessert wine, pleasantly non-syrupy.
                                                      A delightful pinot Saturday in cold rainy Portland....