Review: Wines of Oregon, 2020 Releases

Review: Wines of Oregon, 2020 Releases

A recent roadshow brought dozens of Oregon wineries to San Francisco to show off their recent wares — lots of pinot noir, and a smattering of white wine styles, namely. It’s especially interesting to see Oregon shift its reds to bolder, more aggressive and deeply extracted wines; it feels like alcohol levels are creeping upward, too.

I had a chance to sample a number of new releases from some of the state’s most noteworthy wineries. Brief thoughts on everything tasted follow.

2017 00 Wines VGW Chardonnay Willamette Valley – Boldly floral, peachy, with tropical notes; chewy. A / $75
2017 00 Wines EGW Chardonnay Willamette Valley
– More bready, toasty, dried white fruits. A- / $95

2016 Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge – Quite earthy, heavy black cherry note; tart and dusty. B+ / $75
2017 Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Chardonnay Ribbon Ridge – More buttery and oaky than expected; coconut notes. A- / $50
2016 Adelsheim Breaking Ground Chehalem Mountains – Extensive earth, graphite and asphalt; black fruit is heavy. B+ / $45
2017 Adelsheim Staking Claim Chehalem Mountains – Quiet, with coconut and gooseberry notes; ample acidity. B+ / $35

2017 Argyle Nuthouse Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills – Dry, lots of spice and brambly berry notes. B+ / $55

2016 Brittan Vineyards Chardonnay McMinnville – Bright, big tropical notes; coconut. B+ / $42
2016 Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Pinot Noir McMinnville – Lingering fruit, straightforward. B / $48
2016 Brittan Vineyards Cygnus Block Pinot Noir McMinnville – Bright and chewy, some spice, graphite notes. A- / $65
2015 Brittan Vineyards Gestalt Block Pinot Noir McMinnville – Quite fruity, aggressive. A- / $60

2015 Cowhorn Syrah 53 Applegate Valley – Increasing intensity, earthy and spicy; deep terroir notes; quite drying. B / $45
2016 Cowhorn Grenache 6 Applegate Valley – Bold, black fruit; currants, dark chocolate. Very tart. B+ / $45
2018 Cowhorn Spiral 36 Applegate Valley – Extreme viognier notes, followed by lots of spice and vanilla. A- / $28
2015 Cowhorn Sentience Applegate Valley – 100% syrah, deeply fruity; better balance, cherries, almost unctuous; ample herbs and earth. A- / $55

2017 Domaine Roy et Fils Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Clean and pretty, lightly floral. A- / $39
2018 Domaine Roy et Fils Incline Chardonnay – Huge fruit, peach and pineapple; delightful acid. A / $52
2017 Domaine Roy et Fils Dundee Hills Incline Pinot Noir – Quite full-bodied, sharp fruit; peach candy; chewy. B+ / $60
2018 Domaine Roy et Fils Iron Filbert Vineyard Pinot Noir – Opulent, almost aggressive; massive fruit, chocolate, toasted marshmallows. A- / $120

2017 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton – Big with terroir; heavily earthy, slate notes. B / $55
2017 Elk Cove Five Mountain Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains – Notes of graphite and earth, blacker, darker fruit. B / $55
2017 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – Big red fruit, strawberry and spice. B / $NA

2017 Irvine & Roberts Estate Pinot Noir Rogue Valley – Big black fruit, ample spice. B+ / $35
2017 Irvine & Roberts Convergence Pinot Noir Rogue Valley – Even darker, punchy, Russian River style; brooding. B+
2017 Irvine & Roberts Estate Chardonnay Rogue Valley – Coconut and fresh apple notes; lively. B+ / $32
2017 Irvine & Roberts Reserve Chardonnay Rogue Valley – More acidity, great balance; lots of fruit and spice. A / $60

2017 Le Cadeau Estate Willamette Valley Chardonnay Chehalem Mountains – A bit green, well-buttered. B / $45
2017 Le Cadeau Rocheux Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains – Well structured, cherry notes; quite chewy. A- / $50
2016 Le Cadeau Trajet Reserve Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains – Aggressive, lots of black fruit; very dark and intense; pushy. B / $80
2017 Jolete Wines Le Verre Cuvee Willamette Valley – From Le Cadeau, second label. Quite tart, underdeveloped though. B- / $24

2017 Penner Ash Old Vine Hyland Riesling McMinnville – Brisk acidity, floral, boldly peachy and apricot dusted. A- / $35
2017 Penner Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Big red fruit and some spice; vanilla edge. B+ / $40
2017 Penner Ash Estate Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton – Lots of density; bold terroir and heavy tannin. B+ / $72

2016 Sineann Pinot Noir Oregon – Fresh and floral, some spice, lots of red fruit. B+ / $30
2016 Sineann Pinot Noir Zenith Eola-Amity Hills – Similar style, slightly weedier and greener. B+ / $36
2018 Sineann Pinot Noir Yates Conwill Yamhill-Carlton – Edged with citrus peel, lots of acid. A- / $42
2016 Sineann Pinot Noir Yates Conwill Yamhill-Carlton – Quite floral, much fruitier. B / $42

2017 WillaKenzie Yamhill-Carlton Estate Chardonnay – Lots of florals, honeysuckle, quite perfumed. A / $75
2016 WillaKenzie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Iconic Oregon pinot noir, lightly herbal, graphite, well-balanced. A- / $40
2016 WillaKenzie Yamhill-Carlton Estate Pinot Noir – More complex, bright red and dark black fruit in balance; intense but fruity, remarkably dense. A / $50

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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