10 Approachable Oregon Pinot Noirs
New releases from the 2011 vintage, each priced for $30 or less
Posted: December 27, 2013
The 2011 Pinot Noirs from Oregon are some of the lightest wines to come out of the state in the last decade. It was a late vintage, with a very large crop that struggled to ripen in the cool and periodically overcast growing season. Many of the resulting wines tend to be light-bodied and deft in style, and should appeal to those who prefer more delicacy in their Pinots.
This report covers a few of the Pinots that hit the mark in 2011, with the majority selling for less than $30. Johan winemaker Daniel Rinke produced one of the best values here, using estate grapes from the winery’s biodynamically farmed vineyards. Fox Farm is a collaborative project between sommeliers David Fish and Thomas Ratcliff, with vintner Joe Dobbes making the wines. And California winemaker Adam Lee produced an expressive version from the Chehalem Mountains AVA.
Value and accessibility from the vintage can be found in blends that use grapes from multiple vineyards or regions. These wines often carry the broader Willamette Valley or Oregon designations. The Cooper Mountain Pinot, made from biodynamic grapes, is a blend from three vineyards, while the widely available Wine By Joe includes fruit from throughout the Willamette Valley, with a small portion from Umpqua Valley.
JOVINO Pinot Noir Oregon 2011 Score: 89
Light, lively and focused, with dark berry and pomegranate flavors set against refined tannins. A streak of mineral character provides depth. Drink now through 2018. 6,000 cases made. – H.S.
WINE BY JOE Pinot Noir Oregon 2011 Score: 87
Light and fragrant, with pretty cherry and spice flavors set on a transparent frame, lingering delicately. Drink now. 12,000 cases made. – H.S.