TN - 1997 Thomas PN - Willamette Valley

There is no way… No way at all! There is no way that this wine is thirteen (13) years old and from a “bad” vintage to boot. This wine was fresh, beautifully aromatic with red fruits, red meat, earth, mushroom, and delicate spices. The palate was equal to the nose, with red cherry, mountain strawberry, and rose petal. Perfectly balanced… long finish.


Wow DJ,
Thanks for the note! This was the first vintage when I really got into Oregon Pinot. The wines were so lean and acidic, but had loads of spice and mushroomy, forest floor character. I never looked back. Amazing that this wine is doing so well. 97 was a difficult vintage, much like 07, but ten years has taught the producers a lot.

Thanks very much for the TN, DJ. I’ve loved the couple of recent vintages I’ve tried, but have wondered how they would age. I expect they’d do well, but it’s good to get some confirmation.


IMNSHO, the 07 vintage has been unjustly maligned. Did some people struggle with grapes that were picked early (no one ever expects a 24 day Indian Summer after the rains start)? Sure. Were some poor wines made? No Doubt.

But I think the main thing that most reviewers had against the '07 vintage was that it was not another '06. It wasn’t big and plush, it was light and racy and will likely age beautifully. I tasted a bunch of '07s over the past year and during my recent trip and I did not find any of the wines offered to me by a variety of wineries not to my liking (disclaimer - I do prefer lighter style (“feminine”) Pinot). I think that the '07s offer a tremendous opportunity for the discerning shopper.


I think that John’s wines age well no matter which vintage they come from.

If you’re talking about Thomas, I found his 07 among the beefiest (of the racier styled producers I prefer) and not very approachable several months ago. That said, I purchased more than any of his past 5 vintages based on potential. I’ve heard the drinking windows (all vintages) can be a roller-coaster ride. There are some local palates I trust who don’t seem impressed by Thomas at all. Looking forward to more first hand experiences. That 97 sounded tasty.


Had a 91 of his last fall that was still very much alive and kicking.

I think that Thomas has a specific profile that is earthier (more Burgundian) than alot of the Oregon producers. I think that John Paul at Cameron falls into the same category.

Despite certain board-members having pet peeves against using the terminology, I completely agree that these two producers are more “Burgundian”. I’ve found Thomas Pinots to be more dense/darker, at least in their youth. My wife just consumed most of a bottle of 07 Cameron Abbey Ridge Pinot (not usually the case) and asked if I had something else like that…so I pulled an 02 Chambolle-Musigny 1er.

Thanks again for all your recent notes DJ.