Oregon Pinot Noir

Value Picks for April 2009

2006 Duck Pond Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir • $30 (468 cases)

Overlapping layers of aroma and flavor intertwine to hint at the heights to which Pinot Noir can aspire. Pepper, tar, toast, dark berries and sweet oak vanillin are supported by the structure of bright acidity and firm tannins. A well-made wine.

2004 Henry Estate Barrel-Select Pinot Noir • $30 (981 cases)

Bottle age has enhanced Henry’s flagship Pinot. Developed aroma components of mint and spice immediately entice followed by ripe, dark cherry and oak vanillin flavors wrapped in a soft, velvety mouthfeel. Finishes long.

2006 Zimri Cellars Chehalem Mtn. Vineyards Pinot Noir • $28 (251 cases)

Zimri is a new label from Jason Bull Wines. Heady cola and coffee aroma notes lead into concentrated dried berry fruit flavors. Rich, and balanced throughout, a sappy, crushed pine needle undercurrent adds dimension.

2006 Scott Paul La Paulée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir • $30 (2,026 cases)

The town of Volnay in the southern half of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or is noted for the delicacy and nuanced character of its red wines. It seems Scott Paul is striving to emulate that traditional approach with this light yet complex Pinot that combines fruit, earth, mineral and oak, all in a subtle, understated style.

2006 Agate Ridge Rogue Valley Pinot Noir • $24 (260 cases)

Reminiscent of a round, zesty Beaujolais, this lively, fruit-laden, Southern Oregon wine is a departure from what one usually expects of the variety. Bright red berry, cherry and plum flavors are more Gamay-like than Pinot. Still, it’s a palate pleaser.

2007 Illahe Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir • $20 (1,750 cases)

Right off the vine could describe the very berry first impression here. A wel-balanced middleweight wine that pleases throughout.

2007 The Pines 1852 Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir • $28 (325 cases)

An earthy profile surrounded by leather and smoke sets The Pines apart. Fruit and acid play supporting roles to these leads and they complete a package that delivers interest and satisfaction from first sniff to final sip.

The Oregon Wine Press tasting panel has selected these wines based on overall quality and value within their respective categories. To the best of our knowledge, they are currently available in the retail marketplace. But a call to the winery or your favorite wine merchant will best determine where they may be purchased. The above wines have met the following criteria: Produced by an Oregon winery; retail price below $30 per 750 ml bottle for Pinot Noir, or $25 for other varietals currently available to consumers. Wine evaluations were conducted using a single-blind method and a 20-point ranking system for appearance, aroma, taste, balance and finish.

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