TNs: Oregon Pinot Exploration

Bob Hughes was overdue for a Trimpi style tour of Oregon wines. Last night, mission accomplished. Hosting and cooking are distracting so very brief impressions again:
2013 Crowley Four Winds Chardonnay - Beautiful, seductive, understated, balanced. Tyson is killing it.
2013 Goodfellow Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay - More coiled and a touch more intense than the Crowley. Tons of potential. This will turn heads in 3 - 5+ years.
2013 Goodfellow Willamette Pinot Noir - Subtle and bright. Nice warm up
2005 Cameron Abbey Ridge Pinot Noir - Bob wanted the “Cameron Funk”…and got it in spades. Lovely once it degassed.
2006 Cameron Arley’s Leap Pinot Noir - Almost zero funk, restrained vintage ripeness. Generous and probably peaking.
2002 Joseph Swan Trenton Estate Pinot Noir - Blind wine offered by Scott Christie. Surprisingly youthful and riper than its company. Fine acidity. I’ve probably had 3 of these previously, didn’t stop a guess of KB!
2004 Belle Pente Murto Pinot Noir - Tasty but it’s tiring
2012 Belle Pente Murto Pinot Noir - Delicious. Brian O’Donnell did a great job dialing in the ripeness and balance here.
2004 Westrey Abbey Ridge Pinot Noir - A little too ripe, better days behind it.
2005 Matello Souris Pinot Noir - Odd start, almost thought it was corked…which never materialized. Stems? Uneven for the first hour. Better on Day 2.
2012 Goodfellow Durant Pinot Noir - Still in the process of integrating with an initial passing whiff of oak. More about potential.
2008 Vazart Coquart & Fils Special Club Brut Blanc de Blancs - Palate cleanser. Very enjoyable, yeast, bread dough, citrus and apple/pear.
2004 Patricia Green Estate Reserve Pinot Noir - Clearly the tastiest 04, balanced and satisfying throughout. Patty Green delivers in ripe vintages.
2005 Bethel Heights Seven Springs Pinot Noir - Delicious. In the zone. Fine example of the vineyard and a reminder of its loss.
2007 Thomas Pinot Noir - One of the favs of the night. Bob was puzzled about the “Shitty Vintage”.
2007 Hamacher Pinot Noir - Classy, structured and smooth with excellent intensity. Another delicious 07.
2004 Iron Horse Late Harvest Viognier - Fine pairing with Ricotta Cheesecake.


Loved that '07 Thomas, Richard. Thanks for the notes.

Just bought some 2013 Kelley Fox Maresh from Sec Wines in Portland. One of the wines of the vintage according to Eric. He also recommended '14 Cameron Ribbon Ridge–said it ran rings around its competition in its price range. Bottles are arriving this week. But this weekend we were in Portland and stopped in Wines on Broadway. Tried the '14 Cameron. He was right. Quite the wine for the price ($22-24). A little Cameron funk/Oregon earth. Very accessible now. Drinking window: now through the next 3-4 years. A great entry level Oregon pinot . . . would be an excellent selection for any restaurant’s wine list.

Wow! What a line up. Have always thought Hamacher shined a bit brighter in the ‘shittier’ vintages. Sounds like I need to put the 2006 Cameron Clos Electrique on deck?

These tasting notes are making me thirsty.

That wine is crazy good. I drank a bottle over 4 days and it held on strong throughout. If you like earth, this is the wine for you. And the nose is killer.

Richard - Sounds like a fantastic tasting. Love the Crowley Four Winds and Goodfellow Richard’s Cuvée.

I know there are a lot of good wines out there, but I can be content with just drinking OR Pinot for the rest of my days. [wow.gif]

I will comment in greater detail when I get the chance, but this was a great tasting!

And while the spotlight was deservedly on the Pinot Noir, I am more and more impressed with Oregon Chardonnay every time I try one.

That’s quite a lineup. Most of my favorite producers are represented, and it’s nice to see notes on Oregon Pinot Noirs with a bit of age.

Gary, hard to go wrong with Kelley’s Maresh.

Colleen, the Arley’s has always been earlier drinking than Abbey Ridge or Clos Electrique IMHO. Don’t think you need to rush your 06, although it should be in a good spot.

Scott, maybe it’s better that people don’t realize that OR Chards can be world class?

Dennis…“whatever gets you through the night”.

Doug, there’re a lot of producers that should’ve been represented. Brick House, Eyrie, Scott Paul, St. I, DDO, J. Christopher, Kelley Fox, Arterberry-Maresh, Evesham Wood, Walter Scott, Biggio Hamina, etc. Probably a bottle or two too many as it was!


So, lessee now - first off, a nicely-sized tasting, with a total of nine of us partaking of the bottles, which allowed for multiple looks at a given wine if one cared to. Cheese & crackers to get us started, followed by Trimpi’s famous roast chicken and a host of other tasty treats [cheers.gif] .

As I said in my earlier post, two very impressive Chardonnays to start us off. I had a slight preference for the Richard’s Cuvee primarily due to some additional nuance/complexity on the nose, but would be happy to drink the Crowley at any time. For the record, my better half had a clear preference for the Crowley and whilst the rest of us were busy focusing on the Pinots, happily finished the bottle off.

I think my favorite Pinot of the night was either the 2005 Cameron or the 2007 Thomas. That Cameron funk was initially pronounced (and even then nothing I would term objectionable), but once the wine was allowed to settle in a decanter, it blew off to reveal an excellent wine that would do well if inserted blind into a Burgundy Premier Cru tasting.

The other wine that really resonated with me was the 2004 Patricia Green, because it was still quite lively and fresh when our two previous samples from that vintage were a little underwhelming.

But all in, a very educational tasting for someone like me who is really quite the neophyte when it comes to what Oregon has to offer.

Maybe it’s just me, but Pinot Noir is the only grape(IMO) the French are clearly better at than the rest of the world. And it’s not close.

Shhhh. The first thing about Oregon wines, is not to talk about Oregon wines.

Well, the Burg vs. other Pinot comparison has been discussed a time or two. I don’t believe that new World Pinots can yet reach the heights that they do in France, but I’ve been fooled blind more than once. And the overall gap is narrowing IMHO. NZ, CA and OR quality gets better all the time. Why are Jadot, Meo-Camuzet, Liger-Belair…among others (i.e.: Lafon)…and Drouhin (for a long time) interested in OR?

I can name several French grapes for which a similar argument can be made…but that’s a different thread topic. YMMV.


The other part of the equation is value. Even if I grant no OR pinot will ever achieve the heights of DRC, I’ll never be able to buy a bottle of DRC so for me it’s moot. For my ~$35, there are lots of compelling wines in OR and in France, and I’m not sure it’s clearly better in France. It’s certainly close.


If you are looking for a way to expand your OR PN experience, you’ve selected the right teacher in Mr. Trimpi.

He is my Oregon Sensei [wink.gif]

“No, he’s not. I am the expert around here and don’t you forget it!”

Bob Wood - October 29, 2009

Some shoes are too big (and annoying) to fill. [cheers.gif]


Agreed. I would love to taste with him some time. If you ever ever get to Houston.

You too John.

Careful what you wish for you should be.

Ah, RT is good stuff and if you do taste with him make sure you bring 2006. His favorite. In secret.

His favorite only when 2003 and 2009 are unavailable!