Posted February 17, 2011 in Winemakers
I am sure you have seen all the press about the 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs. The NY Times and Wine Spectator both lauded on and on about what a great vintage is was for Oregon. Over the past ten years, the vintages in Oregon have been pretty hit or miss by the standards of most people. We would like to let you know, we are not most people. When I was in Oregon I got to taste the 08s in barrel and hear every winemaker talk about how great they were going to be. The 06 and 07s were already on the shelves but most people were overlooking them in anticipation of the 08s. Okay, across the board, I will agree the 08s set a pretty high bar as far as Pinot Noirs go. They aren't the blockbuster, huge Pinots from California with all muscles and no real soul. Did anyone ever wonder why David Bruce makes really dark Pinot Noirs? Have you ever had another wine from the winery? I am willing to bet it was a Petit Syrah. They are the two most readily available wines from him, oddly enough.
The 08 Oregon Pinots are big fruit but backed with the earthiness that draws people back to Pinot Noir. The 2008 Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir is on our Chicago wine list for $50. Compared to a $50 Burgundy or California Pinot, it wins on all fronts. The wines may actually match the hype. But don't overlook the older vintages. The 07s may not recieve the all important high scores, they are excellent wines. The 07 Soter Mineral Springs Pinot is a picture perfect Pinot. Oregon is cool climate viticulture and attracts the fringe winemaker, who really wants to push the envelop to make excellent wines. The trade off is the vintage variance. This type of area usually attracts the serious winemakers. Why would Tony Soter, the man who mede such famous CA wines as Araujo and Spottswoode, make Oregon his home? A good winemaker will make a good wine in a challengin vintage. Some even make their best wines.
The 2008 Oregon Pinots are not to be missed. They are some of the best Pinots that have come out of the US. While your trying them, grab another vintage and you'll come to realize how special the wines of Oregon can be, no matter the score given to the vintage.