Oregon has become synonymous with high quality Pinot Noir, and it’s no wonder why. The state’s moderate maritime climate allows Pinot to express concentrated flavor, yet maintain vibrant acidity. But the Beaver State’s cooler and wetter climate is the ideal home for many other red wine grapes as well. Enjoy some of some of our top bottle picks from all across the state.
Quady North 2014 Mae’s Vineyard Flagship Syrah (Southern Oregon); $65, 95 points. This offers concentrated flavors of fig, blueberry jam, blackberry and cassis. The tannins are ripe and polished, and the wine finishes strong, with notes of dark chocolate and baking spices. Editors’ Choice —Paul Gregutt
Iris Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $24, 92 points. Here’s a sensational value in a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from a truly great vintage. The rich ripe fruit-led palate mixes plum, cherry and orange flavors. Tannins are supple and smooth, acids crisp and clean, and everything remains in perfect balance throughout. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Lange 2015 Yamhill-Carlton Assemblage Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton); $70, 92 points. A showcase for the AVA, the purple fruits are principally flavors of ripe blueberries, with a thread of fresh herb. Roughly one-third was aged in new French oak, adding well-balanced sweet barrel flavors to the finish. —P.G.
Leah Jørgensen Cellars 2016 Loiregon Cabernet Franc (Southern Oregon); $25, 91 points. No one in Oregon is more dedicated to this grape than Leah Jørgensen, and nowhere does it pay off better than in her entry-level bottling. A baseline of deep, saturated blue fruit carries the taster into a lush mix of coffee, pepper, tobacco and dusty tannins. The depth and concentration put most $25 reds to shame. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Talent 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Oregon); $44, 91 points. This dark, dense wine is sourced from a pair of top-tier vineyards. It’s deeply etched with cassis and black cherry, struck through with iron ore and smoky earth. The tannins are slightly chalky, astringent, and taste of black tea. Put this away awhile and drink between 2022–2035. Cellar Selection. —P.G.
King Estate 2015 Pfeiffer Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $54, 91 points. This vineyard has been a mainstay designate for the winery for many years, and is now a standout in a vastly expanded vineyard-designate series. A strawberry-jam flavor is propped up by vivid acidity. The finish matches hints of mineral to barrel flavors of caramel and chocolate. —P.G.
Ryan Rose 2016 Malbec (Rogue Valley); $55, 91 points. Lovely earth, mushroom and leather aromas bring softness to this full-bodied wine. It’s packed with black fruit, cola, coffee, smoke and baking spice notes, all well integrated, with impressive length and complexity. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Foris 2016 Pinot Noir (Rogue Valley); $20, 90 points. There’s a strong thread of roasted coriander in both scent and flavor, snaking around tart raspberry fruit and buoyant acidity. This is all estate-grown fruit from a winery that almost always over-delivers at this price point. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Holloran 2015 Tempranillo (Eola-Amity Hills); $25, 90 points. Though the vineyard source is not indicated, the texture and flavors of this wine speak to biodynamic farming. It’s loaded with dark, bloody flavors and accents, along with a whiff of wet moss. On the palate, it recalls cool climate Syrah with its mix of umami, herb and cured meat flavors. Play close attention, and it will slowly reveal hidden pleasures. —P.G.
Reustle 2015 Winemaker’s Reserve Tempranillo (Umpqua Valley); $42, 90 points. This is a dark and concentrated wine. The nose suggests sweet hay, while the palate is substantial and loaded with flavors of black raspberry, chocolate and coffee. It’s fairly tannic and the astringency should set it up well to accompany a thick cut of beef. —P.G.
Girardet 2015 14 Vines Red (Umpqua Valley); $14, 89 points. This wine’s name is a reference to the original plantings at this seminal Umpqua winery. The blend includes eight of those grapes, some quite obscure. It’s gamy, earthy and quite charming, with a gentle touch of leather. There’s plenty of nicely balanced cherry and plum fruit, making it a versatile light red. Best Buy.—P.G.
Published: September 5, 2018