Richard Jennings's take on a bunch of Oregon wines


Nice notes. Sorry I missed this tasting. Otoh, I opened a very nice 2000 Belle Pente Murto reserve a couple of weeks ago…will have to queue up another oregon pinot now that crush is on…perhaps a Thomas.

I respect Richard’s approach to wine, but the notes have a mass produced feel to me. Besides knowing whether the fruit leans red or black, I don’t find they help me much at all.

If you read this Richard, no disrespect intended. What doesn’t work for me might well do wonders for someone else.

Not sure I understand your comment about red vs black fruit but not much else. For example, a few tasting notes (from wines that all got the same score):

2010 Chehalem Pinot Noir 3 Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Medium cherry red color; oak, tart red fruit nose; oak, tart red fruit palate; medium finish

2010 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Medium red color; tart red fruit, rosehips nose; tart red fruit, rosehips palate; medium finish

2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Medium dark red color; tart cherry, cinnamon nose; tart cherry, cinnamon palate; medium finish

2010 Iota Pinot Noir Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
Dark cherry red color; sous bois, earthy nose; sous bois, earthy, tart cranberry palate; medium-plus finish

2008 Lachini Pinot Noir Cuvée Giselle - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Medium dark cherry red color; raspberry, floral nose; raspberry, floral palate; medium finish

2009 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Medium dark cherry red color; baked cherry nose; baked cherry palate with lowish acidity; medium-plus finish

Richard’s tasting notes generally cover the red/blue/black fruit, spice, savory, floral and/or oak aspects of a (red) wine, plus any noticeable technical flaws…a reasonable set of major categories to cover. Tho I would love to see the structure/balance of a wine covered more.

Richard appears to strive to have as small a vocabulary as possible while still describing the wine accurately (it’s his opinion where he draws this line, of course). I’m assuming this is the source of your ‘mass produced’ comment (correct me if I’m wrong). But I appreciate this approach as it helps in comparing the similarities/differences of various wines…the above wines for example. A lot of taste notes do sound very similar because…well…a lot of wines out there are very similar.

Course, Richard reviews my wines sometimes, so feel free to ignore the above :slight_smile:

Eric – apologies, didn’t realize you were ITB.

I mean that when I read RIchard’s notes I can tell whether the fruit tastes more red (cherries, raspberries, etc.), which is my preference, or toward darker fruits. Beyond that it’s really hard to get a sense of whether the wine was interesting or even enjoyed, other than to look at the number at the end. And since the scores tend to be clustered in a pretty tight range, I’m not sure it does much for me. In contrast there are some notes where I don’t know what a wine tasted like (few if any flavor descriptors) but I can sense that the author of the note is really excited about the wine. Sometimes Serge’s notes fall into this category.

I still follow Richard on CT and I am blown away by the amount of wine he tastes – possibly more in a year than I’ve tasted in a lifetime.

As always YMMV.

OR wines look like they were nicely represented. Few people can keep up with Richard Jenning’s pace and reporting skills at a mass tasting event like this. With respect to his TN’s, he has a much wider style tolerance and is much less judgemental than myself. My palate is pretty dubious after a single session of 35 - 45 wines. Subtle characteristics start to get lost. Richard plowed through approx 150 at this event. The only way to know if his notes work for you is to compare with some of the same wines.


I’m sure that he is a nice guy, but I don’t gain much from his tasting notes, other than his quick impressions from a sip, swish, spit. I prefer to read the notes of people who sit with a wine over the course of an evening. To me, quality is more important than quantity.

I think I can taste wines as fast and accurately as any but almost 100+ wines would be extremely difficult unless the setting is ideal, ie sitting and someone else pours for you, and you have at least four hours to taste. For me tasting like this, the balance, ie concentration, acidity and tannins , is what I try to look for and my score would range a bit wider intentionally, say mid to high 90s to love 80s, just to state my preference.

This was a very interesting trade tasting (Pinot in the City - put on by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association). Have not tasted a lot of wines from Oregon over the last decade, found it nice to try so many in one venue. The experience was like a new exposure to a wine region as opposed to revisting the wines year after year. Some thoughts:

  1. The 2010 Evening Land Seven Springs Summum Chardonnay was the best wine I tasted. Reminded me of a young Coche/Domaine Leflaive, plenty of sulfur, black tar and a wonderful flinty style. Thought I was sitting in the middle of a truckstop. Absolutely delicious!

  2. The best overall table was Shea Wine Cellars. Wines left a strong impression of good balance, structure and overall fruit quality. Would be nice to taste these wines with some age on them. Overall, pours were small, so did not take detailed notes on any wines. Went away with the impression Willamette Valley wines were not Parkerized. Instead of striving for fruit bomb intensity, found them elegant and interesting.

  3. Tasting through so many 2010s, thought the majority were simply too young to pour. Many came across unresolved, if not barrel sample like. Found it difficult to predict what the wines could potentially be in the future? I’m assuming an experienced barrel sample taster that tries these wines year after year could predict where the wine is headed, personally found it very challenging.

Other tables that left a positive impression included: Antica Terra, Evening Land, J Wrigley, Rex Hill, and Scott Paul. Did not visit every table, mostly ones friends suggested prior to the tasting. Hope others who attended post their thoughts. A very good tasting overall!

Ron, Richard’s last name is “Jennings.” Therefore, in your thread title, you should use Jennings’s rather than Jenning’s, as the use of Jenning’s indicates that his last name is Jenning, which it is not.

Now, that was a pedant’s rather than a pedants’ post. neener

Actually, it should be “Jennings’s,” if we’re being picky.

true, indeed. I think I was fixing it while you were pointing it out! [wow.gif]

Exactly. Was fixing while you were correctly noting. Thank you for pointing this out; I feel the least we can do, out of respect, is spell names correctly.

You sir, are a semantic, pedantic prick. neener

But so am I, so I’ll make the change.

LOL! I wouldn’t want to disappoint! Thank you, and – of course – please feel free to likewise correct any posts of mine.

For the most part I agree with you. To me these tastings and notes are good for getting a first impression of the wine. A compass if you will but hardly the definitive word. Richard does use a very limited and consistent vocabulary which is nice but I wish he would describe the finish more instead of just saying “medium finish, medium plus.” Those descriptors mean nothing to me. But this critique applies to all power tasters not specifically to Richard. I prefer to taste wines myself that I will be purchasing (there are some exceptions) or read notes of someone on cellar tracker whose tastes match mine that has had a particular wine over the course of 3 hours.

Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Richard post here in quite awhile, so maybe he’s moved on and so cannot take offense. If he has, it’s a loss for the board as his insights were valuable.

Regarding his long lists of generic flavors over hundreds of wines, I get your point. I always prefer more context and less robotic descriptions. Basically, I get bored reading his notes, and I attempt to deduce as much as possible from the mechanical descriptions.

On the positive side, I often find his introductory prose for each tasting event informative and candid, but I find myself scanning the notes. In a perverse sense, the sheer volume of his tasting notes actually make his use of the 100-point system somewhat useful. He’s sort of a human wine tasting database. Also, he seems to have the ability to appreciate a vast range styles, which is not easy to do.

I’ve got no ax to grind, and I don’t know Richard, but it seems we should appreciate those who freely contribute such a huge and varied amount of content on a topic we love, regardless of whether we approve of the means and methods?

I didn’t think you were being offensive. Read any professional tasters and you get overwhelmed. And yeah, that’s one of the reasons why the 100pt scale is so popular.

I have not seen Richard post here since the Rhys blowout discussion a while back (IIRC he found many of the Rhys too stemmy. I do but it varies by bottling) but it seemed he had been dialing it back to focus on his own property more.

Impressive list of wines to be sure, but having had many of those same wines, I get the impression that he isn’t too sensitive to ethyl acetate flaws. Also, I take from that list that his palate preference skews towards a definite direction. Still, to taste and take notes on that many wines is certainly an investment in time and I respect him for that.