Oregon’s Willamette Valley Wineries: On the Road to Seattle



By Kori ~ March 23rd, 2010.

Our neighbors to the south, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, recently made a trip to our fair city for their first ever consumer and trade tasting. “On the Road to Seattle” was a block party event featuring over 50 Willamette Valley wineries. All of the AVAs within the greater Willamette Valley AVA were represented including Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills, McMinnville, and Eola-Amity Hills.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known the world over for its signature varietal, Pinot Noir. While many of the wineries also produce other cool-climate varieties, it is Pinot Noir that steals the show. As a result, we chose to taste only Pinot Noir at the event and did our best to taste at least one Pinot from as many participating wineries as we had time. All told, we tasted 43 Pinot Noirs from 40 different wineries. It was a wonderful opportunity to get a flavor for some of the wineries that we were not able to visit on our last trip to the Willamette Valley or try in our Oregon Pinot Noir tasting dinner. We discovered some wines and wineries that we would like to explore further in future trips and tastings. If you are interested in exploring Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, we hope that you’ll find our list of wines we tasted helpful in giving you a place to start.

While wine grapes have been grown in Oregon since the mid-1800’s, it was not until 1966 when David Lett and his wife Diana planted 3,000 Pinot Noir vines in the Dundee Hills that the Willamette Valley really came into being. David, who passed away in 2008, is affectionately known in Oregon as Papa Pinot. Today, the Willamette Valley is home to more than 200 wineries and 15,000 vineyard acres.

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that we tasted at the “On the Road to Seattle” event. Under each Quality heading, the wine name and region will be listed along with price and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Boedecker Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $45, QPR: 5
2007 Archery Summit Red Hills Estate Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $85, QPR: 5

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2006 Andrew Rich Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $30, QPR: 5
2006 Anne Amie Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35, QPR: 4
2008 Sineann Resonance Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $42, QPR: 4
2008 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $45, QPR: 4
2006 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $58, QPR: 3
2006 Argyle Nuthouse Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $60, QPR: 3
2006 Domaine Drouhin Cuvee Laurene Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $65, QPR: 3

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2003 August Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $20, QPR: 5
2008 Coeur de Terre Estate Pinot Noir, $29, QPR: 4
2008 Duck Pond Jory Cuvee Pinot Noir, $29.99, QPR: 4
2007 Amity Crannell Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $32, QPR: 4
2006 Coleman Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $38, QPR: 3
2007 Adea Hawksview Vineyard Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $40, QPR: 3
2007 J.K. Carriere Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $42, QPR: 3
2007 Lemelson Meyer Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $42, QPR: 3
2006 Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $45, QPR: 3
2008 Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $45, QPR: 3
2007 WillaKenzie Estate Emery Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $45, QPR: 3
2007 Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $60, QPR: 2
2007 Dusky Goose Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $75, QPR: 1

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2008 Benton-Lane Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $26, QPR: 3
2008 Patricia Green Croft Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $30, QPR: 3
2007 Adelsheim Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $32, QPR: 3
2007 Lemelson Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $32, QPR: 3
2007 Methven Family Estate Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $35, QPR: 2
2007 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $38, QPR: 2
2007 Lange Estate 3 Hills Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $40, QPR: 2
2006 Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $42, QPR: 1
2007 Anam Cara Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $45, QPR: 1
2007 Cooper Mountain Mountain Terroir Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $45, QPR: 1
2007 Chehalem Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $49, QPR: 1
2007 R. Stuart Ana Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $50, QPR: 1
2007 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $60, QPR: 1
2005 The Eyrie Vineyards Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $65, QPR: 1
2007 Bergstrom Bergstrom Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $75, QPR: 1
2007 Beaux Freres Upper Terrace Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge, $90, QPR: 1

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2007 Airlie Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $18, QPR: NR
2008 Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, $25, QPR: NR
2007 Anam Cara Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $33, QPR: NR
2007 Brooks Janus Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35, QPR: NR
2007 Le Cadeau Equinoxe Pinot Noir, Chehalem, $48, QPR: NR


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Oregon Wine, Pinot Noir, Wine Activities/Events, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Chris | March 24th, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Great report, Kori! I tasted a few of these on a recent Willamette trip.

    I’ve seen other event reports rating this many (or more) wines. I’m curious how the Peeps do this. Is it divide and conquer or do you all go down the line and compile scores. How in the world do you keep track of this many notes in an evening. And I’m assuming this is all sip and spit?

    And the pricing info is a yeoman’s job to compile. I was surprised to see an ’08 release $20 LESS than an ’07 from same pruducer/vineyard that I have. Again, great write up!

  2. Wayne | March 24th, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Sorry you did not make it around to our both. It was suggested by many that we were pouring the best 2007s at the show.

    Cheers!

  3. Kori | April 2nd, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Chris,
    Glad you enjoyed the report. At events like this, we generally taste together. We go down the line or to the wines we’ve selected to try, sip, spit, discuss, and I write notes and make the ultimate rating decision. It can be quite a job to compile all the info about a set of wines like this. However, thankfully, in this case, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association provided a very well-done tasting booklet which included most of the information I needed.

    Wayne,
    I’m sorry we weren’t able to get to your booth. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit everyone. I hope we do have a chance to try your wines in the future.

    Cheers!

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