Full Bodied Oregon Pinot Noir

The wife and I have focused our Pinot purchasing in California since we have been able to visit and taste in several regions. Due to several factors, we have not and will not be buying any Burgundy. The last Pinot Noir region we would like to explore in-person is Oregon. We tend to enjoy the full-bodied wines more than the lighter side and we both enjoy what stem inclusion can bring to the senses (examples: Benovia, Sojourn, KB Appellation, Donum and some Williams-Selyem). That being said, it seems (maybe wrongly?) like the lighter bodied Oregon Pinot Noirs get most of the attention here. To increase our efficiency and enjoyment when we do make the Oregon trip, what wineries should we focus our time and attention on? Thanks in advance for your suggestions. Cheers!

Notes on Thomas 2018 suggest it being more fuller bodied than other vintages. Hundred Suns makes a fuller bodied/modern/earlier drinking pinot (of their 2019s I thought the Bednarik was the most balanced).

There are a number of wineries that make fuller bodied Pinots in Oregon. I tend toward the higher tension wines, but Maysara, Durant, R. Stuart, Stoller, Shea, Penner Ash, and Elk Cove come to mind. I’m sure there are others. There are a ton of wineries up here.

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I personally wouldn’t put Thomas in that category. As a whole, those wines tend not to be in the big/bold range in my experience over the last 20 years.

A couple that I think personify that style would be Domaine Serene and Antica Terra. White Rose tends toward that category too in my opinion. All well-made and certainly for the first two, they do a great job on the hospitality side for visits. Depending on who you ask, Beaux Freres and Arterberry Maresh can be thought of as more fruit forward, at least in some years. I personally lean away from that style, but do like both of those labels with some age on them, so I put them a little less in that category than the first three I mentioned. YMMV but I would suggest they’re worth checking out…. And totally different experiences for visiting as well - from the high end to the mom/pop feel, which I personally enjoy.

Shea Wine Cellars and Antica Terra come to mind. But in all honesty, if Kosta-Browne body is the goal…CA is a better place to look IMHO.

RT

Would Domaine Serene and Beaux Freres fall into the relatively “bigger” camp?

I think Archery Summit is more in that style, plus it’s a gorgeous estate to visit, perched on a hilltop surrounded by vineyards.

Sticking with California has been a possible outcome (just one) that we had anticipated. However, KB is probably the extreme example of what we consider full-bodied and it would be fun to explore the possibilities in Oregon before writing the region off as a whole. Thanks all for the input so far. Cheers!

I was surprised by how lush (CA like) the Brittan gestalt block was but by no means do I know enough about OR PN to make any comparisons within the state.

Agreed.

RT

Another suggestion would be Ken Wright Cellars.

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I know you said no Burgundy, but think you would dig Francis Lumpp and Bertrand Ambroise/Victor Fagon (same producer). Village Burg is often still a fine price if that is the worry and Lumpp is out of the Côte-d’Or which keeps prices down (for now). In terms of full bodied in Oregon, a recent 2016 Vincent Pinot Noir Silvershot Vineyard had that mouth coating quality. I think the best answer though is Colene Clemens.

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Antica Terra.

Another vote for AT
(Which I really like in spite of my preference for Burg and AFWE New World PNs)

But Beaux Freres…erf

All good input so far IMO. I’d add that 2018 is the vintage to seek out. Definitely more potential for muscular Pinot compared to 2017 or 2019. 2016 and 2015 too for any late releases or library stuff, both very warm seasons with early harvests. Vintages matter here in Oregon, some years if you want to make big wines it might be tricky. In that vein, CA is a better place for CA style Pinot. Maybe lean in to what Oregon offers, and you might find yourself enjoying wines that could sounded like they wouldn’t be your style. Goodfellow for example isn’t making big wines but given what the OP writes, you should definitely check them out. They’re not light wines either. Rather they’re one of many examples of producers threading the needle of power and nuance that has made Pinot Noir famous and enduring the world over. The best Burgundies aren’t light, but they aren’t Californian either. Glad you’re coming to check us out. Good luck and enjoy!

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If you want California style Pinots from Oregon, look for wineries with a winemaker who moved up from California. Brittan and Antica Terra are examples, as is Soter. Robert Brittan also makes wine for Winderlea.
Big Table is another example. Small operation, great people, beautifully made wine, but California palates endure.

A couple of the wineries with a reputation for big wines have toned down the style. Archery Summit, Beaux Freres, and Bergstrom are all examples. I don’t think Domaine Serene or Penner-Ash have dialed back, but I haven’t had either in a while.

More names: Le Cadeau, Roco, Prive.

Is it the weight you care about or flavor and structure?

If the former, then you may be mostly better off sticking to California.

But if it’s flavor you want, as well as something underpinning it/giving it form, the Oregon can very much fit the bill. Ribbon Ridge AVA offers that to my tastes, and despite some of the wines having a little less color, or a little less palate weight, they have tons of aromatic and flavor impact, as well as structure to hold it all together. Some wines out of the Eola Amity Hills AVA have hit my palate the same way. Go back two or three years, and I was nowhere with Oregon Pinot. Now, having found some touchstones with Goodfellow, Vincent, Division, etc. I am really dialed in, and preferring what I can get in OR over my CA Pinot stalwarts.

Antica Terra and Brittan Vineyards are my favorites by far. Both are relatively bold, fuller bodied, very distinctive, and extremely complex. I’m not even a buyer, but they do impress me. Sure, Domaine Serene fits stylistically, but I find the wines extremely boring.

Very well said. I’m no expert in regards to Oregon wine but I find vintage makes a large difference here compared to some other wine regions.

Tom

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As someone who blindly bought Colene Clemens wanting precisely the opposite, I wholeheartedly agree.

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I’d also suggest checking out Cody Wright’s wines: Purple Hands or his estate brand Haakon/Lenai