Oregon Uncorked: Top Ten Pinot Noir Picks

“You don't have to be clinically insane to make Pinot, but it’s a distinct advantage.”  ~ Michael Hill Smith, co-owner Australia's Shaw &; Smith winery

After recently reading a popular blog [one which will remain nameless] I was filled with a bit of amusement, a wee smirk, an eye-roll. Why, because it took a so-called panel of "experts" to come up with just five picks from the vast Oregon Wine Scene to come up with a list. This blog, on the other hand, with only one lowly wine blogger on staff, a few adventures with Mrs. CUVÉE to Oregon over the years, was able to come up with an overflowing list of top-rated must-haves labels and wineries you simply must visit to taste in person.

By the way; these are all wines presently sitting in my own cellar, because as it's said, "there is nothing like putting your money where your mouth is" and this mouth has had bath-tub sized amounts of amazing Oregon Pinot swirling about in it on more occasions, then I care to count. Now, if you're keeping score, and I hope you're, the answer is "yes, I do spit" when I'm out tasting, no matter the venue. Without any further ado, now it is the time to spill the beans and name, names.

A few of the names you will see on the list below are wines I've reviewed recently, and if you click the link to the right of the bulleted numbers below, you can read the full down-low on each of those gems. 

I thought it would be a great idea to compile them all here in one nice tight list. It may just be a bit more helpful for the thirsty vino-sapiens in search of a shopping list for the upcoming Thanksgiving feasts. If you have any trouble finding any of these wines yourself, I know someone who can make your shopping experience so much more comfortable, just ask via the comment section below. Enjoy! 

1. Youngberg Hill: 2008 Jordan Block Barrel Select 

4. Ken Wright Cellars: 2008 Savoya Yamhill-Carlton AVA

5. Bergstrom Wines: 2009 De Lancellotti Vineyard Pinot Noir. A stunning example of Oregon PN from the Chehalem AVA, immediately accessible and supremely enjoyable. I know it may seem an impossible task, but wait, it will improve immensely with just another year in the bottle. 94 Points.

6. Bergstrom Wines: 2011 Shea Vineyard: At first blush, this wine is chock full of sweet baking spices, red currant, dried cherry and savory herb thing, wrapped around well-integrated tannins. Definitely one for the cellar, hold. 92 Points.

7. Bergstrom Wines: 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir: Another fantastic offering from this 'iconic' Orgundian producer; dark ruby-colored in the glass, aromas of dark cherry and blackberry entice the first slurp. A quick swirl on the palate reveals sweet spice and fresh cherry baked pie-crust, I can still taste it. 90 Points.

8.  Dukes Family Vineyards 2009: Pinot Noir "Charlotte" Eola - Amity Hills AVA: Here's another lovely example of Oregon Pinot Noir, with a lot going on. I just uncorked this bad-boy the other night, wowsers [technical term] intense, ripe youthful aromas of dark cherry, red raspberry draw you in for the first slurp, sweet spices, red-berry flavors, wrapped around the smooth, well-integrated, seamless tannins. Balance is excellent, the length is good but most of all tantalizing, final impressions delicate, plus complex flavors and aromas which equal smiles all around. 93 Points.

9. Wahle Vineyards 2009 and Cellars Pinot Noir: Another Holme Hills gem from the Eola Hills. What else do you need, and immediately approachable wine boasting layers of ripe fruit, outstanding volume, vibrant acidity, and a lengthy, velvety finish. At an SRP of $36, it's an excellent best buy value. Score 91 points.

10. The Eyrie Vineyards 2010 Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir: Mrs. Cuvee and I ran into this bottle over dinner at the very popular "Thistle" restaurant in McMinnville, OR. They had this fantastic, food-friendly Pinot that just screamed Oregon. A pioneering producer on the Oregon Wine Scene, long before everyone else hopped on the purple-stained bandwagon.
The color was hard to come by, but a light cranberry color. Lovely nose, rich earthy aromas and bouncy red fruits, a nice pop of morello [a chef’s go-to] cherries on the palate, and spices, baked crust, and wet forest floor playing in the background. Spread across a canvas of firm, yet silky tannins. Score 91 points. SRP on this wine is $36 another best-buy. 

Bonus: 2009 Hawks View Pinot Noir: Hello Chehalem Mountains AVA. You can see that review here.

If this list wet your appetite and you'd like to know about a few more fantastic sources for Pinot Noir, if so then please, as they say, stay tuned! As I'm going back to the Willamette Valley once more, in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to let you know all the gems I'm sure to find there. Until next sip long and prosper cheers!


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