Over the course of the evening we tasted 10 wines from some of the top wine makers in Oregon's Willamette Valley. The wines were all from the 2008 vintage, which is thought to be one of the best
Oregon has ever produced.
We tasted the wines blind so we didn't know who made them or how much they were before we tasted. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my palate mostly went the way I would have gone had I known the labels.
The line-up (my favorites are in purple):
Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve, Chehalem AVA - Sweet spice on both the nose and palate, not much of a finish, tight tannins, pleasant; $27
Ribbon Ridge Ridgecrest Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA - Classic pinot noir notes of red raspberry and cola, Loved the nose, but it seemed to disappear on the palate; $63
Elk Cove , Yamhill Carlton AVA - Gamey, but also bright red berry notes, One of my favorites of the night; $28 - good buy
Ken Wright Abbott Claim Vineyard, Yamhill Carlton AVA - Licorice nose but with some interesting sweet notes - floral?, Nicely balanced; $52
Lemelson Thea's Selection, Yamhill Carlton AVA - Sweet nose with spice notes, Currant, earth, a little pepper on the palate, Another one of my favorites; $26 - also a good buy
Archery Summit Arcus, Dundee AVA - Petrol on the nose, Not a fan, Only a few people in the room liked this wine, but it got better throughout the evening - still my least favorite; $91
Domaine Serene Jerusalem Hill, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Lovely nose of red berries with a hint of smoke, Absolutely loved this wine and it was a tough choice between this and the next wine for my favorite of the night, Glad to find out that Eola-Amity is still my favorite Willamette AVA - even in a blind tasting; $90
St. Innocent Freedom Hill, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Funky nose with a lot of game and herbal notes; Cherry, spices, savory herbs on the palate - this is my type of wine and it was my favorite of the evening; $40 - in my opinion, a good deal for an Oregon wine with this much personality and complexity
Ken Wright Carter Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Mint, eucalyptus, smelled almost like a mint tea, More fruit on the palate, but still a lot of mint which I couldn't get past, Lots of people loved this one but I didn't really like it, When I found out it was Ken Wright, I was not surprised because I tend not to love their stuff as much as everyone else - just makes me an outlier; $52
Ken Wright Canary Hill Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Jammy nose, Cooked berries, Seemed to disappear on the palate, but when I came back later in the evening, it had a much longer finish, Was the favorite for the majority of the attendees; $52
Ultimately, there was only one wine (Archery Summit) I wouldn't want to drink again. Yet even the Archery Summit had its fans. There were over 70 people at the tasting and each of the wines had at least a few fans so if you get the chance to try any of these, go for it.
Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,