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Oregon has made a name for itself with Pinot Noir. These high-quality wines invite comparison to Burgundy rather often, since Oregon’s cool climate is perfect for fussy Pinot Noir. These versatile wines range from light and fruity too serious and age-worthy. The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, has two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to more than 700 wineries. It is recognized as one of the premier Pinot Noir–producing areas in the world.
Protected from cold Pacific Ocean air and rainstorms on the west by the Coast Range mountains, the Valley follows the Willamette River for more than a hundred miles from the Columbia River near Portland to just south of Eugene. The Cascade Range to the east forms a natural boundary and protects against the opposite extreme: the dry, desert-like climate of eastern Oregon. Overall, the climate boasts a long, gentle growing season: warm summers with cool evenings, a long and lovely autumn with the first rainfalls of winter amid plenty of sunny days, and mild winters followed by long springs. The unique geography and climate of this region led winegrowing pioneers like David Lett and Charles Coury to plant the first Pinot noir grapes in the Willamette Valley more than 50 years ago.
L'Umami Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2021
Scents of ripe cherry, plum, strawberry, raspberry and mushroom. On the palate the wine has a classic profile of earth, cherry, and plum with a hint of smoke and sun-dried tomato.
Holloran Vineyards Stanfford Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2020/2021
The Stafford Hill Pinot Noir is primarily sourced from Le Chenaie vineyard located, in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA near Salem, OR. In addition, de-classified lots from Holloran's other single vineyard sites in Dundee Hills, La Pavillion and Ana, are also used. The lots used for this wine are aged for 11 months in up to 15% new French oak. The nose offers sweet cherry fruit and forest underbrush, with food-friendly acidity and structure on the palate, and a floral perfume in the mouth and finish. Made in the style of traditional Burgundy, the fruit is sourced from non-irrigated vines with fermentation occurring in small open-top tanks that are punched down by hand. Many of the lots are fermented with native yeasts, and all malolactic fermentation occurred naturally. This wine is both unfined and unfiltered. Natural sediment may occur over time.
Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2020/2021
A brilliant core of red and bramble fruits dances with hints of cedar, passion fruit, rose petal, and turned earth. The palate is balanced, with a plush texture and a vibrant, juicy finish.
Illahe Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2021
Illahe Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir begin with strawberry, tamarind, and blackberry then broaden along the palate to include chalk, tobacco leaf, chocolate, and earth. The acid supports a complete yet not overwhelming tannin balanced between skin and oak. The wine retains its velvet mouthfeel through a process of clarification by racking. For an entry level pinot, this wine is a great value and will last 6 to 12 years under the best conditions.
Walter Scott 'La Combe Verte' Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2021
The 2021 La Combe Verte is composed from the volcanic Eola-Amity Hills vineyards of Justice, Koosah, Sojeau and Witness Tree, blended with the old vine fruit from the powerful, marine sedimentary soil of Freedom Hill Vineyard. This Pinot Noir is fermented with ambient yeast and aged in barrels for 10 months.
The resulting wine is a lush and beautiful example of the 2021 vintage, immediately appealing for early drinking, but layered with power and structure giving this wine the ability to age. The inviting nose suggests ripe red & black fruits, summer flowers and warm, earthy spices. The dense fruit, succulent tannins and juicy acidity all come together to produce what we feel is a lovely & balanced example of what the Willamette Valley gave us in 2021.
Illahe Vineyards 'Percheron Block' Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2019
Illahe is a Chinook Jargon word meaning “earth,” “land,” or “soil.” We feel this reflects both our location in Oregon, as well as our desire to craft wines which express the variety of soils on our beautiful 80 acre estate. Illahe Vineyards was established in 2000 by Lowell Ford, grower of Oregon grapes since 1983.Illahe is a LIVE-certified, Salmon Safe vineyard. We use cover crops on the entire vineyard. We are part of Oregon's Deep Roots Coalition, and as such do not irrigate mature plants. We do extensive green pruning and conduct plant topping. We prune by hand and harvest by hand. We use sulfur spray to control for powdery mildew and botrytis.
Lavinea Winery Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2021
Brooding yet expressive, with raspberry and blueberry flavors highlighted by forest floor and dusky spices as this builds richness and tension toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2032. 642 cases made. A new wine for Lavinea in the 2021 vintage, the generous flavors of '21 nicely complement the spice and savory accents intrinsic in the Eola-Amity Hills. 
Kara Composition Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2018/2019
Located on the edge of the Ribbon Ridge on the south slope of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Willakenzie sedimentary soils are present in this section of the AVA. The vineyard sits on a gorgeous ecosystem, including the livestock of birds, sheep, and a trusty collie. Dry-farmed with biodynamic preps and no synthetic chemicals, the focus is to regenerate the soil, add native plants and allow beneficial species to thrive.
Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2020
This wine has a beautiful balance of raspberry fruit profile with warm spice, black tea and a delicate cocoa. The fruit on the palate is juicy but if you lean in there is a quiet brooding character to this wine that still has a lot yet to give. The Acid holds the fruit in check and the tannins keep the gentle momentum into a long finish. In a word, ‘delicious’.
Antica Terra Coriolis Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2019
100% Pinot Noir with flavors of dried strawberry, red plum, rose petal, violet, and lavender. Great silky texture with ever lasting finish. Great to pair with red meat dishes, such as fillet mignon and/or duck with cranberry sauce. After a decade at Sine Qua Non, winemaker Maggie Harrison began making her own wines. She owns an 11 acre vineyard located on a rocky hillside in the Eola-Amity Hills where the vines struggle to grow in a pre-historic seabed without topsoil, amongst a fractured mixture of sandstone sown with fossilized oyster shells.
Ken Wright Cellars 'Canary Hill Vineyard' Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2020
Canary Hill may be one of the older vineyards in the Eola Hills of the Willamette Valley, but its modern history is fairly easy to summarize. Ken Wright liked the vineyard so much that he bought the property outright from Dick and Nancy Daniel in 2006. Twenty-four years before that, in 1982, Nancy and Dick cashed in their Arizona home for the rugged, beautiful property high up in the hills, with a view west towards the Coast Range. They thought that growing grapes might be a good idea, even though “I didn’t know spit about wine,” says Nancy now. The farmers who were their neighbors thought they were nuts for paying $3,500/acre for the 21-acre parcel that was little more than a sheep pasture. How did Canary Hill get its name? “When we arrived there were thousands of little yellow birds on the property,” she recalls. “People told us they were canaries. Well, turns out they were Western Goldfinches.” Too late – they had already named it after canaries, and the name stuck.
Lingua Franca Eola-Amity Hills Tongue'n Cheek Pinot Noir 2019
The fruit for this cuvée comes from one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon, with rocky, Jory soil. After 14 months in barrel, it has been tamed, showing medium weight, with red and black fruit and some crystallized preserve notes. The finished wine is round, smooth and gamey, with plum dumpling and spice flavors and dark undercurrents of smoke, tar, flint and roasted meat. In the Tongue n' Cheek cuvée, notes of wild berries mingle with black cherry, juniper and dark spice, leading into a more powerful, layered wine with a serious chassis of fine tannins and more dimension than its siblings. The fruit remains crisp and precise in this warm year. A very impressive debut vintage.
Walter Scott 'Sojeau Vineyard' Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2021
From an organically farmed site whose vines sit on Nekia, Ritner and Witzel soil. 30% whole cluster, aged in 228-liter barrels (15% new) for 15 months. Aromas of red raspberries, cranberries, dried rose petal and maitakes entice towards a corpulent, silky texture with velvety tannins that leave a red-toned, elegant finish with exit notes of dried tobacco and gravel. Fruit forward, yet balanced and complex.
Luis Marin

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