TN: Oregon Pinot Noir Tasted Blind

OREGON PINOT NOIR TASTED BLIND - Salty’s Pub, Clifton Park, NY (8/6/2009)

My regular Albany-area tasting group met to taste Oregon Pinot Noir (with one bad Napa ringer). No one in our group has a special interest in this area, so I’m not sure why it was chosen or how knowledgeable people view these particular wines.

Only the organizer knew what the wines were. The rest of us only knew what we brought, but not which one it was.

The food at Salty’s was excellent as usual.

Flight 1
Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese and Roasted Fennel. (The filling was fresh and delicious. The crust tasted frozen.)

  • 1988 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    [Cork crumbled.] Mature Burgundian nose of autumn leaves and dried cherries. Delicate in the mouth with appealing sour cherries and a touch of mint. Drink up! (88 pts.)
  • 1988 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Merde nose. Burns my mouth. This sucks! NR (flawed)
  • 1991 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Mulchy, dirty nose. Sour and a bit dirty in the mouth. Not appealing. (72 pts.)
  • 1998 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Appealing nose of wet stones and ripe strawberries. In the mouth, rich cherries. More body and thickness than the others wines in this flight. Is it much younger? Nice. Should drink well for 5 more years. (91 pts.)

Flight 2
Slow Roasted Salmon with Sliced Beets and Stewed Leeks & Shallots. (The Salmon was excellent.)

  • 2007 Erath Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    [Screw cap.] Unusually light in color (like a dark rose). Strawberry nose. Light and fruity with quite a green bite on the finish. Many here think it’s Gamay and not Pinot. I can understand that thinking. (84 pts.)
  • 2002 Ribbon Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Appealing, waxy nose of dark red fruit. Silky minty cherries with a slight green streak that keeps it from being outstanding. (88 pts.)
  • 2002 Stangeland Pinot Noir Stand Sure Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Huge wild cherry nose with very appealing forest floor notes. Complex and appealing in the mouth. Quite Burgundian in style. My favorite wine so far in this tasting. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

I’m not sure why, but it says I can’t post more than 3 pix, so I’ll split this into multiple posts . .

Flight 3
Sliced Duck Breast with Sautéed Spinach & Arugula and Cassoulet. (A very special dish. Terrific unadorned duck complemented the Cassoulet brilliantly. The Cassoulet was served in a cute little iron fry pan.)

Flight 4
Braised Beef Short Ribs in Pot-Roast Style with Veal Sweetbreads, roasted root vegetables, and Gnocchi. (Killer dish. The short ribs were so tender and flavorful. The sweetbread delicate and delicious. The gnocchi were a little chewy.)

Overall, I was not that impressed, but I’m not a big Pinot fan. Still, there were several that were eminently drinkable. Specifically, the Stangeland seems like a very good value and the Ken Wrights are excellent. The Torri Mor and Beaux Frères are excellent wines with less Pinot character.

Posted from CellarTracker

The 2002 Stangelands were sleepers for sure and I’m glad to see my predictions about their ultimate viability were accurate, because they’re often unattractive young. The only thing is that Larry has historically had a very aggressive pricing structure, though in checking his website I see that he’s moderated his stance, especially on library wines. The 2004 Estate Reserve is $25 and it’s likely a bargain at that price. On release, I think it was $65.

Here’s a link to the restaurant website:" onclick=";return false;

This is an unusual place, just a local bar with a great chef, John Marzilli:

The current price on recent releases of the Stand Sure Vineyard Pinot is $25 on the website. If these are as good as the 2002, then they are very good values.

The food looks awesome. Was that a special menu put together for the pinots?


Yes. We just tell John what wines we’re having. He’s one of the best in our area at matching the dishes to the wines. A lot of places focus on showing off their food more than matching our wines. John does both.

I think assorted sushi with wasabi cream sauce paired with 2000 red Bordeaux was an all-time classic! [suicide.gif]

Thanks for the notes and pics. The food looks great. I am surprised by the poor showing of the Brick House. I have only tasted it once but remember it being nice … but a bit of a victim of the vintage. I can’t say I take any interest in the rest of the wines although I may check out the Strangeland.


What was your impressoin of this when you tasted it Jason.

When I was there at thanksgiving and tasted through Dougs line up, I remember thinking what nice acidity and freshness they had compared to a lot of the wines I tasted that week end.

I think notes are posted somewhere on eBob … but i can’t find them. Dietz, WetRock, Lin and Robo were there too. I know we had quite a few wines but what I recall of the Brickhouse was much as you describe. And showing very nice purity. I do remember it leaning more to a Cali pinot rather than Oregon.