Tasting Report: Blue Chip Wineries of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, 2012

A recent trip to Portland afforded an overnight to the Willamette Valley, where Oregon’s best wines are made. On this trip I made advance plans to visit the best of the best, Oregon’s blue chip wineries in a long day of driving up and down the valley. This trip took us up and down the Chehalem Mountains, along dirt roads, and even into a Fred Meyer superstore. Thoughts on a variety of wines — with a focus on Pinot Noir — follow.

2011 Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Gris / $19 / A- / quite sweet, fresh Viongier notes
2009 Chehalem Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay / $36 / B+ / tropical touches, cinnamon notes
2009 Chehalem Corral Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir / $48 / B- / then, some tannin
2007 Chehalem Stoller Vineyards Pinot Noir / $48 / B+ / medium cherry fruit, mild nose
2008 Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyards Pinot Noir / $48 / A- / rumbling, raisin notes, cherry big, but still very young
2006 Chehalem Reserve Pinot Noir / $85 / A / chocolate and leather nose, rich, port-like with raisin notes
2010 Chehalem SEXT Riesling / $24 / B /
2010 Chehalem Corral Creek Riesling / $24 / A- / pumped up
2010 Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve / $24 / A- / aromatic, lots of spice
2011 Bergstrom Rose / $19 / B / simple, very light rose
2010 Bergstrom Old Stones Chardonnay / $30 / B+ / aged in 3-4% new oak, mostly neutral oak; good bouquet, refreshing
2010 Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir / $42 / B+ / a touch unripe, some extracted flavors
2010 Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir / $50 / A / almost perfect, with a touch of earth on the finish, gorgeous cherry notes; give it 1 more year
2010 Bergstrom de Lancellotti Vineyard Pinot Noir / $65 / A- / more funky, a little big but lush and pretty
2010 Bergstrom Bergstrom Vineyard Pinot Noir / $80 / A / good balance of fruit and acid
2011 Colene Clemens Rose of Pinot Noir / $20 / B+ / peachy, fresh
2009 Colene Clemens Reserve Pinot Noir / $42 / B+ / classic pinot, chocolate notes with high alcohol
2009 Colene Clemens Victoria Pinot Noir / $58 / A- / very rich, deep purple; massive in SoCal style
2011 Adelsheim Auxerrois / $22 / B+ / Chablis style white, orange flavor, tart
2010 Adelsheim Caitlin’s Reserve Chardonnay / $45 / B / lots of acid, minimally oaked
2009 Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir / $55 / A- / light body, cocoa finish
2009 Adelsheim Boulder Bluff Pinot Noir / $68 / A- / high-elevation fruit, beautiful nose, cherry notes, showing well, expect future vintages to settle down a bit
2009 Adelsheim Temperance Hill Pinot Noir / $68 / A / low-elevation fruit; lush with big fruit, black cherries
2009 Adelsheim Bryan Creek Pinot Noir / $75 / A- / highest-elevation fruit of the bunch; good cherry fruit with great character
2010 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Blanc Estate / $17 / B- / mild, a bit tight, overly mineral
2010 The Eyrie Vineyards Chardonnay Estate / $27 / A- / tropical notes, lovely
2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Blackcap Reserve Chardonnay / $60 / B+ / meaty, slight fizz, big earth
2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate / $35 / A- / good, lively cherry fruit
2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Blackcap Pinot Noir / $45 / B+ / dusky, earthy, brambly; restrained behind a big body
2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve Original Vines / $60 / B / a touch watery, thinner with mild fruit
2009 Et Fille Pinot Noir Kalita Vineyard / $38 / A / lovely cherry, cocoa-dusted, heady spices when you breathe deep, a real knockout
2009 Et Fille Pinot Noir Willamette Valley / $24 / A- / menthol notes
2009 Laura Volkman St. James Pinot Noir / $25 / B / very tart, candylike touches
2009 Crowley Entre Nous / $32 / A- / aged up to 2 years in oak; more menthol here, huge attack with a long smooth finish


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One Response to Tasting Report: Blue Chip Wineries of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, 2012

  1. I’m glad you’re bringing the Drinkhacker love to Portland! I do hope you had a chance to visit some of our local distilleries… I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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