TN: 45 year old Oregon Pinot Noir

I sometimes bid on odd mixed lots where I only really want 1 or 2 bottles, and basically bid on what I want, without adding much of anything for the other bottles (I usually lose). One of the oddest lots I actually won was a couple of years ago - ‘67 Pichon Lalande, ‘60 Ygay GR, some iffy whites, and an OR PN. Turned out well- the Pauillac & Rioja met or exceeded expectations, a 69 Pavillon Blanc de Marguax and an offvintage Corton Charlie were better than expected, though a “75 Les Clos Chablis was dead. That left the Oregon Pinot, the 1976 Erath Vintage Select Pinot Noir (Yamhill).

OK, so oldest Erath PN with a tasting note of CT is the ‘93, tasted in 2008. Oldest Oregon I’d had was ‘88 Adelsheim, actually quite tasty when it was 25. But 45 year old base level PN? Low expectations. At first glance I thought it had a wax capsule, but it was a convenient plastic capsule with a tiny handle/pulltag to remove. Cork comes out clean, pretty saturated. OK yes this is old, there’s a strong caramel note. But there is some strawberry/cranberry red fruit, and it’s quite interesting with good acids (and a little VA note). Pretty pale color, clean edges without much browning. Nose keeps developing -rose petals, tars, nuts, toffee. Fruit is definitely there, but the caramelly notes are the most noticeable thing. I actually decide to ditch if for a Thivin Brouilly with dinner, but return after dinner. By then the volatile notes are stronger, heading toward polish remover. But for that first half hour it was fun. As a wine probably C+/B-, but I found fun to try, and the bang for buck was great as I certainly didn’t factor in for my bid on the lot, so B+ for experience. .

Grade disclaimer: I’m a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C
drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn’t drink at a party where it was only choice.Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.


Thanks for the interesting note. I love your grading system. It makes perfect sense to me as does your disclaimer.

Mmmm… Polish remover

Has a disagreeable 1939 ring to it.



How was the '67 Pichon? That bottle really shocked me how much it overperformed.

I had that KE wine out of barrel and it opened my eyes to what Oregon could be. Would not have bet on drinking it in 2021.
We sold their regular '76 PN for $4.50.

The '67 PL was the second best '67 Bordeaux I’ve had, after the Latour ('67 Trotanoy has good rep, but I’ve had one corked and one cooked, never a represenntative bottle). The PL showed lightness, but held well over several hours and was lovely in an elegant mode. Not a steak wine, but a fine roast chicken claret.

Sorry I left off nail. Some people find humor in strangest places.

In its early years (pre mid-90s), Knudsen Erath had some serious infection problems. I remember their 1983 Vintage Select pinots being one of the best of a great vintage, but about half the bottles had a huge VA problem. Whenever we opened one, it was always good to have a couple back-ups.

The farther a vineyard is from UC Davis, the weaker its protective powers become.