Oregon - Printable Version

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- Panoswine - 02-10-2006 01:47 PM

Hello, this is my first posting on this bulletin board. I am a wine writer working for various media, and would like to know your opinions on Oregon, given a recent story that I had published in [url]Decanter[/url]. Just beginning to learn about Oregon wines, I was somewhat surprised that the economic impact of Oregon's wine industry is so much smaller than that of New York's, so I guess there is only room for growth in Oregon. Does anyone have anything to say about pricing of Oregon Pinot? Is it too high? Too low? Just right? I am thinking about how high Napa Valley wines have gone in price... Or what about latest developments in winemaking in the state. Well, if anyone cares to chime in, that would be great. Thanks in advance.


[This message has been edited by Panoswine (edited 02-10-2006).]

- wondersofwine - 02-10-2006 04:20 PM

Welcome to the board. Hope you will return often. Strasbourg is a beautiful city. I visited there several times while living in Germany staying in Hotel Rohan right by the Cathedral.
I personally think that wineries such as Lange, Torii Mor and Ponzi price their wines fairly (except for the Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve) but others such as Archery Summit and Domaine Drouhin Oregon are overpriced.
I enjoy many Oregon Pinot Noirs and also some Pinot Blancs and Arneis.
Argyle (now owned by an Australian firm, Petaluma) produced an interesting limited production of simulated ice wine from Pinot Noir grapes. They picked very ripe Pinot Noir grapes and froze them at -8 degrees to produced a very sweet "ice wine."
I hope others will chime in with their take on Oregon wines.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 02-10-2006).]

- Innkeeper - 02-10-2006 04:52 PM

Welcome from us too Panos. Our now 40 year old twins have their births registered at the U.S. Consulate in Strasbourg. They were born at Rosieres-en-Haye which is northwest of Nancy.

"Wonders" is one of our Oregon experts, and we have others whom I hope will chime in soon.

- hotwine - 02-10-2006 05:29 PM

Will add my welcome to the board. Haven't sampled enough Oregon wines to form a generalized opinion. But I too enjoyed visiting Strasbourg while living in Germany in the 1970's; your flea market was one of the best.

- dananne - 02-10-2006 07:06 PM

I'm not sure I'm one of the Oregon "experts," but I'd like to chime in as Oregon wines are my favorite. We drink a lot of them, we currently have wines from over 40 different Oregon wineries in our cellar, and we visited for a week last summer and are going back this coming summer.

Oregon wine has had a lot of changes in the past 20 years, but it's still changing quite dramatically. For example, the next wave of Oregon wine (IMHO) will not be Pinot, but other warmer-climate varietals from other regions than Willamette. For example, some great, exciting wines are coming from Umpqua Valley (particularly Tempranillo, Syrah, and Malbec from Abacela) and the Rogue Valley (of note, the stuff from Joe Dobbes and juice from Del Rio) in the southern part of the state, and neat things are happening on the Oregon side of the border in the Walla Walla Valley AVA (Zerba Cellars, for example) and the Columbia Gorge (Sineann makes some awesome Zins from Columbia Gorge fruit).

All that having been said, Pinot Noir from Willamette will always be the standard-bearer. The high-end Pinots can stand up to anything from any other region in the world, again IMHO. I like the consistency, too (good vintages since 1998). I feel if I reached blind into a batch of Oregon Pinot Noir bottles, I'd have a better chance of getting a good bottle than, perhaps, other regions known for it. I'd agree with Wondersofwine's comments on pricing, including those she singled out. I'd like to see more good Pinots in the sub-$20 range. I'd go a step further and say that I'm starting to become just a tad annoyed by the price creep in recent years, but not as annoyed as I am with new players in Willamette Pinot jumping right in and pricing themselves in the $40+ range without track records. One thing I'm still not entirely sure is for the best is the movement toward single-vineyard Pinots. Not everyone is as talented as Ken Wright, and there may still be a place for blended Pinots. There is considerable variation in microclimates and soil types in Willamette Valley, and blends can sometimes put the best attributes together in a way that you can't get from a single vineyard. Even saying that, though, I love to taste the differences.

Regarding the value of the industry, I was a bit surprised at the disparity shown in your article, but think it may be, in part, due to the huge population center(s) that supply the wine tourism to NY regions.

Welcome to the board!