April 20, 2006

Tasting 2001 Oregon Pinot Noir

My tasting group met recently to go through a number of 2001 Oregon Pinot Noir. It was a bittersweet affair, with our instigator Chris leaving to be a vigneron in his native Missouri.

The wines were interesting if not thrilling, as is the case with too much Oregon wine. But it’s always a good time with this group and tonight was no exception.

As usual, the wines were tasted blind, which I find a curious practice but on these occasions worthwhile.

We began with the 2001 Privé Le Nord, showing an evolved color with unpleasantly buttery caramel and toast aromas. Silky and round on the palate but it seems to be coming apart at the seams a bit. I heard this won big praise on release but it’s not pretty now. Drink up.

Next was the 2001 Witness Tree Vintage Select, with a fresher cherry floral aroma and a silky round, even mineral flavor amid some candied fruit. Good but would have been terrific without the confectionary notes.

Then the 2001 Maysara Estate Cuvee, from own-rooted Pommard vines. Fresher still, with cherry and smoked sausage aromas and some volatility. In the mouth, fine grape tannin and ripe cola and cherry flavors, not bad.

A surprise was the 2001 Bergstrom Willamette Valley, the basic bottling that has never shown to me like some of the heavier examples from this producer. Instead, this was vinuous with meaty floral notes and purple aromas, probably some brett too. Tangy cherry flavors, monotone but balanced and nice, maybe even worth holding.

I somehow figured out this was 2001 Holloran Le Pavillon, as it showed what this vineyard seems to show to me. That’s classic loamy Red Hills cherry fruit aromas with some dust, darker this time but somehow typical of its site. Silky but chunky on the palate with some alcohol sticking out, not so long and lacking complexity. Good enough really, but not special.

Finally the 2001 Patrice Rion Savigny Les Beaune thrown in for fun. Obviously French, but tart and lacking depth or complexity, even a little sour. Just not what I go for in any wine, but sadly too common in Burgundy. It seems all wine regions have their work cut out for them.

1 comment:

Brooklynguy said...

Yikes - sounds like a tough night. True dat - too many Oregon Pinots are not as good as you hope they'll be. I think Burgundy blows them away at the $20-30 price point. I actually liked some of the 01 Oregon wines better than the 02s for young drinking. Adelsheim Quarter Mile and Elizabeth's reserve, St Inn Brickhouse (YUM), and a few others were really good. i still have 1 bottle of 01 Adelsheim Quarter Mile.

I am envious of your tasting group. I try to put together tastings like that every 6 wks or so and its hard to get people together. I need to meet more wine-geeks.