Should You Pay $300 for an Oregon Pinot?
February 3, 2015
by Elin McCoy
Oregon Pinot Noir may not be high on your list of wine priorities yet, but movie producer and wine entrepreneur Mark Tarlov is convinced it should be. That’s why he’s charging an eye-popping $300 each for his two just-launched Chapter 24 Double Zero Pinots. “the price is a poke,” he tells me. ‘It’s a signal to say Oregon matters.
It’s a pretty loud signal, since these are now the state’s most expensive wines. But are they worth the price of Grand Cru Burgundies?
I sipped and compared his two ’00’ wines, 2012 Shea Vineyard and 2012 Hyland Vineyard, as Tarlov filled me in on the wines’ backstory over a lunch at Porterhouse restaurant in New York.
A long time Burgundy aficionado, the tall and trim Tarlov told me he started his career writing speeches for Chief Justice William Burger and later ditched a federal attorney job in Washington for Warner Brothers in Hollywood. His first film was based on Stephen King’s creepy novel, Christine.
He stubbed his toe with his first wine project, Evening Land Vineyards, however. That ambitious undertaking, founded in 2007 went off the rails because it tried to do too much: Evening Land included vineyards in California, Oregon and France, a Burgundian winemaker, and projects with celebrity sommeliers. Tarlov lost control of it in 2011 and left, pushed out by his big money backer.
His comeback is Chapter 24, named for the final section in Homer’s Odyssey. It’s focused solely on Oregon Pinot. Why? “Oregon,” Tarlov says, “is America’s most elegant terroir for the grape.”