Looking to Oregon for Quality Pinot Noir Under $30 | Finding The Best Oregon Pinot Noir
Perhaps no other varietal can be as rewarding and challenging at the same time as Pinot Noir. Fans of the fickle grape are intimately aware that when it’s bad, it can be thin, lifeless and devoid of character. But when it’s good, it can be downright transcendental.
But transcendental is expensive. For example, a bottle of recently-released Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru Burgundy will set you back nearly $2000, with prized vintages fetching considerably more. For that kind of money, shouldn’t it do more than just move you?!
Circling back to reality… How about entirely-estate grown Pinot Noir that you can actually find in the store, for $30 per bottle? Today I’m evaluating two popular, well-distributed offerings from Oregon producers to see whether $30 can get you a solid bottle of Pinot right here at home. Willamette Valley Vineyards and Stoller Family Estate are dedicated to crafting high-quality, expressive Pinot Noir at accessible prices.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2013: Produced from a blend of three vineyards: original winery plantings, Tualatin Vineyard in the Coast Range and Elton in Eola Amity Hills. Pours a light to medium red with subtle shades of burnt orange. The nose is soft and elegant revealing aromas of flowers, orange marmalade, cherries and forest floor. In the mouth, it’s medium-bodied and richly textured. Notes of cherry and cranberry are supported by potpourri, orange peel and subtle smoke nuances. The lengthy finish is enlivened by just the right amount of acidity and subtle spice. This manages to be pretty and delicate yet full of personality.
Score: 90 | Price: $30
Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2013: Crafted exclusively from estate fruit grown in the Dundee Hills, the Stoller Estate Pinot Noir pours a slightly darker shade of red than the Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir. The nose reveals rich aromas of vivid black cherries and raspberries interlaced with cola, cinnamon spice, flowers and a hint of vanilla. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied with a creamy, lithe texture. Flavors of raspberry and cherry mingle with cinnamon and subtle earth nuances. Very polished, supple and elegant.
Score: 90 | Price: $30
France – You’re On Notice! | Looking to Oregon for Quality Sub $30 Pinot Noir
The Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir and the Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir offer convincing evidence that solid Pinot Noir can be found amongst well-distributed, reasonably priced offerings.
And while they are affordably priced, they manage to be varietally correct and individually distinctive. They offer an abundance of personality and make a compelling case for exploring Oregon Pinot Noir. Surely these producers are benefiting from certain economies of scale to be able to deliver quality Pinot Noir at such palatable prices – and consumers certainly stand to benefit.
Thanks to overachieving producers like Willamette Valley Vineyards and Stoller Family Estate in Oregon, along with Wren Hop Vineyards in California to name just a select few; France no longer has a monopoly on Pinot Noir – only on seriously overpriced Pinot Noir! I hope to learn more about these two producers, along with others throughout Oregon, in the near future.
**Wines were received as media samples for review. No other consideration was received for the article.