V I N T A G E S 2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 7
As the wave of great vintages continues in Oregon, our senior editor Owen Bargreen has been tasting his way through the latest releases. Some of the world’s finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir come from Oregon and its diverse AVAs and the quality of production seems to be at an all-time high, with nearly 300 new releases being scored 90 Points or higher.
Our in-depth tasting report highlights the beautiful new releases (primarily from 2015-2017), which range from amazing values to wines that are amongst the most compelling in the world and covers over 450 outstanding releases.
2015: A sensational vintage for Pinot Noir, as fruit maintained remarkable freshness but also produced powerful red and dark fruit flavor and aromatics.
2016: Equally as impressive was 2016, as the vintage tends to show a touch more minerality but grapes also collected good phenolic ripeness to translate into good richness in the glass.
2017: The vintage shows wonderful promise, as I am quite impressed with the first red and white wines I have tasted from the vintage. Conditions were similar to 2016 as a similar degree of warmth, but fewer hot growing degree days which resulted higher levels of acidity and sterling tension in the glass.
One of the great lineups in the state, Domaine Serene, continues to craft rich and beautifully layered Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. You will not want to miss the scintillating 2016 Domaine Serene 'Evenstad Reserve' Chardonnay, or their newly released 2016 Domaine Serene 'Recolte Grand Cru' Chardonnay which both captivate with their unique focus, richness and tension in the wine.
BIG TABLE FARM
Big Table Farm continues to produce a magical lineup of wines. Winemaker Brian Marcy seems to be improving with each vintage, as his 2017 'Earth' Pinot Noir is up there with the best of its kind in the state.
The outstanding team of Larry Stone MS, consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon and winemaker Thomas Savre craft some of the most distinctive and highly Burgundian wines in the Willamette Valley, none more so than their stunning and bright new 2017 Lingua Franca ‘Bunker Hill’ Chardonnay.
Founder and winemaker Mark Vlossak has quietly been making some of the most compelling white wines in the valley, including the top scoring Pinot Gris bottling of our report, their 2017 St. Innocent ‘Vitae Springs Vineyard’ Pinot Gris, showing wonderful range and texture.
Year after year, Evening Land crafts some of the most evocative Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines from their famed Seven Springs Vineyard. The 2016 releases are utterly brilliant - mineral-driven and full of gorgeous terroir, these wines should not be missed.
One of the consistently great lineups of age-worthy, pretty and lithe Pinot Noir wines comes from Beaux Freres who has hit another home run with their fantastic new lineup of 2016 Pinot Noirs.
Mo Ayoub continues to be one of the top wineries in Oregon as the 2017 Ayob 'Estate Vineyard' Pinot Noir and the 2017 Ayoub Chardonnay are both dazzling examples of their varietal.
Other wineries that performed remarkably were lineups from Stag Hollow, Alexana, Bergstrom, Tendril, Cristom, Trisaetum, Gran Moraine, Zena Crown, Open Claim and Brick House.
Do not miss out on top Oregon Sparkling Wines by Argyle with their 2008 Argyle ‘Extended Tirage’ Sparkling Wine, or ROCO, and their 2015 ‘RMS’ Rose Sparkling wine made by the talented Rollin Soles, formerly of Argyle fame.