If you are fond of dry wine, you may want to get Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is named after Pinot noir grapes that do mostly well in cool climates. Since Oregon is a cool state, many vineyard farmers plant the grapes in the region. The temperatures varies from 36°F to 85°F and generally receives short summers. However, the grapes give out a different taste depending on the climate it is grown in. For instance, cooler climates produce more delicate and light-bodied Pinot noir, while warmer climates produce riper and full-bodied Pinot noirs with more alcohol content. Interestingly, Pinot noir grapes were first grown in the Burgundy region in France before the first century A.D. The region is known for its cool and humid climates. For a long time, the fruit was mainly grown in France before it was introduced to Oregon in the 1960s by Dick Erath. Dick realized the area was as cool as France, hence introduced the fruit. In this aticle we will identify some of the best Oregon Pinot noirs. Tag along.
5. Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir ($40)
The wine was first produced in 1988 by the Drouhin family. Most of the Pinot noir grapes are harvested from the family’s estate. The fruit is hand-picked, hand-sorted, and then destemmed at a four-level gravity-flow winery. 20% of new oak is combined with the grapes during the fermentation process. According to Prince of Pinot, it adds flavor and contributes to its texture. The resulting wine has plum, rose petal, and candied dark cherry aromas. Meanwhile, the palate presents dark fruit flavors with pink peppercorn. This wine is best paired with ham, beef, poultry, lamb, and fish.
4. 2018 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir ($41)
This brand is a barrel-aged red wine made by Cristom in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Cristom is a winemaking project run by Cristom Steve Doerner (winemaker), Marcos Feltz (grower), and Paul Gerrie (engineer). The principle that drives the three specialists to make the brand is using low-intervention winemaking to make wine. This winemaking technique uses scarce or no additional substances for fermentation, such as fining agents, supplements, and commercial yeast. Due to the unique technique of making this wine, the specialists received a Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) certification. After selecting the grapes, they ferment them with 40% left whole. They ferment them with native yeasts and pump them over once to thrice daily. The wine is then transferred to French oak barrels by gravity. It remains in the barrels for 11 months, and it is then clarified with egg whites before bottling. The resulting wine is smooth with citrus notes and red fruit aromas. As for its taste, it has well-integrated tannins with a salty finish. This wine can be paired with cold meat, mature cheese, roasted red meats, and smoked dishes.
3. 2018 Bergström Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir ($47)
This wine is produced from Bergström Wines, consisting of five estate vineyards that occupy 84 acres. Each estate vineyard is farmed without using harsh chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. When it comes to the winemaking process, this brand is particularly hard to make. First, the wine has to be tasted from every barrel, and that takes up to 5 months. The aim is to figure out how they can combine the barrels to produce one of the best wines. The wine is perfumed with floral pastilles, red roses, savory garden herbs, sweet mushrooms, and dark cherry. As for its texture, it is fresh and light on its feet. Lastly, it tastes like intense dark fruits with a peppery finish.
2. Tendril Extrovert Pinot Noir ($52)
How would you know how good a particular wine is? Perhaps, if it received an award. According to Great Northwest Wine, this wine earned a gold medal at the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition in Hood River, Ore in 2015. This wine has aromas of pipe tobacco, ripe raspberry, orange pekoe tea, and dark cherry. On the other hand, its palate contains flavors of caramel, vanilla, black raspberry, and a long velvety finish. This brand goes well with dishes like vegetarian lasagna, pork fried rice, and veal osso buco. The wine is made through a rather long fermentation process. First, they are allowed to age for a minimum of 16 months in a barrel. After that, they are allowed to further ferment in the bottles for 6-18 months before being officially released.
1. Nicolas-Jay Carlton Estate Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir ($113)
This wine originates from a vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The vineyard occupies 13.5 acres of land, but 11 acres have been set aside to plant four types of Pinot noir. Another outstanding feature about the vineyard is that the Pinot noir grapes are 100% organic. According to EPA, a crop qualifies to be 100% organic when it was grown without using any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. The winemakers prefer to harvest the fruit during the warm summers. Amazingly, the heat does not destroy the fruit but instead makes them more mature and sweeter. The wine from such grapes is dense. As for aroma, there are hints of roasted meat, blackcap raspberry, blueberry fruit, and toasted nuts. In terms of taste, it is chalky-sweet with hints of citrus, dark berry fruits, and limestone flashes.
Oregon Pinot noirs wines are one of the best based on what you consider good wine. Some people focus on the taste, and in terms of taste, these brands deliver. Even though dry wine is not that sweet, these brands contain hints of citrus, dark berries, and many other fruits. So, they are slightly tastier than other dry wines made by other companies. Lastly, people consider wine good based on how the grapes were grown. We have already established how most Oregon Pinot noirs are organically grown. Non-organic wines tend to contain artificial flavors and lead in small amounts, which is toxic. Fortunately, these wines are organic, and you won’t have to worry about experiencing any side effects from non-organic wine.