Though I wanted to write about last year – it was great t see Willamette Valley Winery Association’s Pinot in the City come to San Francisco again (26-August-2015). Though California shares a border with Oregon–it might be that these two US states are hundreds if not thousands of miles and kilometers apart. And what I mean is that finding Oregon wines in California is not impossible but finding a great array at any particular retailer or restaurant is a tall order.
I love Oregon and I love Oregon wines. I am consistently dazzled with Oregon’s many regions and subregions–when I think of Pinot the band from Chehalem in the north to the Eola-Amity Hills sub AVAs are all producing fine Pinot Noir. Does each region characterize differently? The answer is yes–but subtly so. I do detect the biggest difference from the north to the very south have the biggest difference but that difference is not vast. Each sub AVA are producing thrilling wines.
Having put foot on ground in the Willamette Valley several times I find it so compelling not just the topography, vegetation and landscape–remarkably different from any California wine country (I, of course, don’t want all wine countries to look the same). I like that Willamette Valley is a specialist in Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. I do think it would be great to see more Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc–from what I have tasted is very well done.
Oregon is in general is a newcomer to the wine stage. In coming to the wine stage is offering wines that are world class and that has been purpose driven. I have heard many people compare and call Oregon wines Burgundian in style which I am not sure is meant by that. I call Oregon wines Oregonian in style. Oregon’s Pinot Noir are not California’s Pinot Noir. They are markedly different and each makes a compelling and unique Pinot Noir. I love Oregon’s embrace and sensibility of leanness. I am not saying lean is the only characteristic–elegance is another word I can easily apply to many Oregon Pinot Noir. Most bottles are not only elegant but many a definitive and confident bottle.
I think in the future we will see many more Oregon Chardonnay and I think that Oregon is doing a great job with Pinot Blanc and given this is prime for sparkling wines. There is Argyle which is well known for both it’s Chardonnay and sparkling wines I can picture a world of many more sparkling wines–all the prime sparkling wine grapes are there sans Pinot Meunier (which is there but the plantings are far fewer than either Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). And I cannot help but want a touch of Pinot Meunier in a bottle of bubbly.
I hope this year to put another foot on ground tour in Oregon–it has been more than a couple of years since my last visit. I recommend a visit to Oregon’s many wine countries. While many Oregon wines are available in probably all 50 US states and abroad–the fullness of experience can only come by visiting Oregon.
Willamette Valley Wineries Association
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