Tasty 2013s

Pinots shine despite challenging harvest

Name Change

Starting with this tasting, OWP has renamed its wine review program. “Value Picks” served us well for years, but the “Value” part of the name kept some wineries from submitting, not wanting their wines to appear as “bargain bin” selection. This was never our intention; instead, we wanted to recommend great wines at reasonable prices.

We will continue to do this — with a few changes in 2016 — under the new name: OWP Cellar Selects

The Oregon Wine Press tasting panel has selected the following wines based on overall quality and value within their respective categories. To the best of our knowledge, they are currently available in the marketplace. Wine must be: 1) produced by an Oregon winery; 2) priced according to schedule below*; and 3) currently available to consumers. Recommended wines were selected using a double blind method and a 20-point ranking system for appearance, aroma, taste, balance and finish.

Called a “winemakers’ vintage,” 2013 was a year of surprises. Following a warm, dry summer that appeared to be an easy repeat of 2012, September brought the prediction of rain. Vintners had to choose: Pick before the rain and risk under-ripe grapes, or pick after and risk rot, disease and bloated fruit. The rains arrived and skilled winemakers rose to the occasion, regardless of picking dates. Vintage 2013 is revealing yet another 

successful vintage of Pinot Noir, Oregon’s signature wine.

Alexana 2013 Terroir Selection Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Imagine sitting in a leather chair next to a slow-burning fireplace. Now raise the glass and take in this wine’s cozy seasonal aromas of allspice and dried fruit. Next, let the flavors of plum preserve and golden raisin wash across your palate — a hint of bell pepper adds greater depth to this full-bodied wine. We suggest sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the delightfully long finish with a bowl of freshly roasted Oregon hazelnuts. 2,586 cases; $34

ArborBrook 2013 Origin 1866 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

Named for the year the farm was first established, this Pinot reveals delicate aromas such as lavender and honeysuckle. Well-balanced, the wine shines on the mid-palate with a pleasant warming sensation with flavors of Bing cherries, plum sauce and a hint of white flowers. Winery suggests pairings such as veal, roasted chicken with spring vegetables, grilled salmon with raspberry syrup glaze and more. 425 cases; $45

Monte Ferro 2013 Bradley Vineyard Elkton Pinot Noir

A fruity, spicy nose of cherry cola, orange pekoe tea and a touch of black peppercorn leads to tart cranberry, dark cherry and persimmon on the palate. The fruit is balanced with flavors of leather, graphite, tea leaves and pepper, carrying through to a long finish. 125 cases; $25

William Rose 2013 Pinot Noir

Sweet flowers softened by a dusting of cocoa powder greet the nose; while plum, fresh fig and a black licorice surprise entice the palate. Add to its complex flavor, a soft mouthfeel, resolved tannins, a warm supple mid-palate, and you have a well-balanced, elegant Pinot Noir. 70 cases; $34

Denison Cellars 2013 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

On the nose, aromas of cherry, blackberry and plum are freshened with new-mown grass. Easy on the palate, this wine boasts dark cocoa, black pepper and concentrated Marionberry flavors. Soft tannins are lifted by bright acidity, creating a pleasurable mouthfeel. 199 cases; $26

Left Coast 2013 Latitude 45 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Notes of leather, coffee, freshly tilled soil, strawberry and orange tea leaves waft from the glass. Flavors of slate, raspberry, plum and freshly ground black pepper make for a complex, bright palate that extends through a lingering finish. The perfect food wine. 344 cases; $36.

Cubanísimo Vineyards 2013 Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Starting with aromas of tea leaf, leather and pine needles, this wine is a surprise on the palate. Juicy, fruity plum flavors and zesty acidity simultaneously fill the mouth and extend over a long finish. 632 cases; $36

Three Wives (Remy) 2013 Giulio Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

Imagine yourself among the rich and famous while indulging in this luxurious wine. There you are in your wood-paneled library enveloped in aromas of spice, tobacco and black pepper. Dreams often end too soon, but this one, at least, has an extended finish. Savor the flavors of stewed sour cherry, black pepper and pomegranate sparked with bright acidity. 148 cases; $28

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2013 Estate Pinot Noir

Looking for a Pinot to hold its own with steak? Here it is. Root beer, spice and cigar box entice the nose; while spice, dried fruit, marzipan with hints of macaroon, cherry and cola burst on the palate. Full-bodied and mouth-filling, the wine is perfect for ribeye. 9,385 cases; $30

Van Duzer Vineyards 2013 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

A perfect food wine, this selection’s aromas entice with dried strawberry, floral notes of fuschia, clove-studded orange and a dusting of cinnamon. Well-defined tannins are balanced with zesty acidity. Notes of cranberry lift the full-bodied wine, ending in a fulsome finish. 223 cases; $40

Hawkins Cellars 2013 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

Briary, woody aromas mix with raspberry jam and spicy anise; while flavors of cassis, vanilla, blueberry and dried black cherry present on the palate. Balanced tannins, pleasant acidity and a warming, spicy finish augment the overall satisfying experience. 150 cases; $34

Coeur de Terre 2013 Heritage Reserve McMinnville Pinot Noir

A tart cherry nose — sprinkled with black pepper, grounded with earthiness and lifted by a bright top note of orange zest — starts the taste experience followed by flavors of dark cherry, a hint of vanilla and toasty oak. Tannins support but never overwhelm the lingering finish. 531 cases; $36