#10 STORY for 2010: Rave Reviews for 2008

By Karl Klooster

There still are hidden stashes of Oregon 2002 Pinot Noir wines, but in years to come it may be the 2008 wines that are so covetously hoarded. In November, Wine Spectator Editor at Large Harvey Steiman told one of his seminar audiences that he is awarding the Oregon 2008 vintage a perfect 100-point score.

“Oregon has waited 40 years for the 2008 vintage,” wrote Tim Fish of Wine Spectator. He quoted Steiman as saying, “They have finally made the wines they have always wanted to make.”

Oregon winemakers, members of the trade and avid appreciators have known for sometime that the 2008 vintage was something special. It was even more apparent during the traditional Thanksgiving Weekend tastings at wineries throughout the state, with prices of the 2008s already reflecting the widespread recognition they are receiving.

As expected, top-tier Pinot Noirs are leading the way. Experienced evaluators describe them as fruit forward as the 2006s, with the food-friendly acidity of the 2007s, but exhibiting balance and structure that exceeds either of their immediate predecessors.

And the whites appear to be every bit as exciting, filled with freshness and intensity of flavor. All in all, the consensus at this point is that the 2008 vintage may set a new standard for Oregon wine.

Meantime, recent tastings of the 2009s give every indication of another outstanding vintage. At the 2010 ¡Salud! Big Board Barrel Auction, attendees couldn’t stop talking about the depth and intensity of flavors found across the board in the 42 Pinot Noirs presented at the annual benefit for seasonal vineyard workers. 

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