Oregon’s Pinot Noir legacy

Rolling vineyards of Pinot Noir grapes cover much of the northern Willamette Valley, the heart of Oregon wine country. (photo by Andy Perdue/GreatNorthwest Wine)

Oregon’s wine industry traces its lineage to the 1970s. The first pinot noir was planted in southern Oregon in 1961, and expanded into the Willamette Valley in the 1970s.
Today, Pinot Noir is far and away the dominant grape in the country’s fourth-largest wine-producing state (following California, Washington and New York). In fact, Pinot Noir makes up an astonishing 62 percent of the state’s wine production, with the focus on the northern Willamette Valley, home to six distinctive federally recognized viticultural areas.

Here are a dozen delicious examples or Oregon Pinot Noir we have recently tasted. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.

Winter’s Hill 2014 Single Block Series Block 1 Estate Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $49

Whether it is white or red, the Gladhart family continues to take it from grape to glass in the Dundee Hills in beautiful fashion. Their young Single Block Series from the remarkable 2014 vintage features four two-barrel lots of stunning juice, and Block 1 showcases Pommard on its own roots — a brave endeavor, indeed – that stems from their first 1990 planting. Its easterly aspect makes it the final block to be harvested. Lightly oaked, it offers blueberry and cola aromas that lead to sweet cherry and cranberry-rhubarb flavors backed by juicy red currant and a long finish of watermelon Jolly Rancher. These wines are not distributed and offered only at the winery.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 44 cases

Alcohol: 12.7%

Winery website

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