Wine, Wine Reviews

Taste Oregon: A Journey of Discovery – 2017 Toronto



American wine lovers know Oregon as pinot country. This state on the Pacific Ocean located between California in the south and Washington to the north started growing grapes in 1860, but the production was miniscule.

The modern viticulture goes back to 1965 when a University Of California at Davis graduate, David Lett planted his Eyrie Vineyard with pinot noir and thus earned his nickname Papa Pinot.

Ever since, the industry grew, and today more than 500 wineries produce wine grown on more than 11,000 hectares of vineyards.

Although Oregon is best known for pinot noir, practically all now produce pinot gris and chardonnay; some also vint gewürztraminer, viognier, chenin blanc, and riesling.

Of late, a few growers have been attempting to grow syrah and other varietals.

Oregon’s climate is notoriously wet, with mild winters. Luckily most of the rain falls between October and April.

Willamette Valley is the largest AVA (American Viticultural Area). There are others – Umpqua-, Rogue-, Appelgate-, and Illinois-Valley.

Smaller areas within the Willamette Valley were created for marketing reasons, and to distinguish flavour characteristics. They are Ribbon Ridge, Chehalem Mountains, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carlton District, Dundee Hills.

A few wineries now grow organic and fewer biodynamic grapes, and make wine.

Oregon’s pinot noir taste delicious in successful vintages, with elegant aromas of berries, mid-weight bodied, with fine acidity and long aftertaste.

Several French winery owners bought land in Oregon and planted vineyards.

For the first time in years, Oregon wineries visited Toronto to proudly pour their wines for sommeliers and wine writers.

I tasted approximately 50 wines and found the following to be worth purchasing.

Most can be purchased as consignment products.

Some wineries are still looking for representation.

White wines

Rex Hill Chardonnay, 2013, A to Z Wineworks
Ontario agent

Dundee Hills Chardonnay, 2014, Bachelder

Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay, 2013

Big Table Farm Chardonnay, 2014

Willamette Valley Chardonnay, 2015, Roco Winery

Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay, 2015, Raptor Ridge Winery

Viognier, 2014, Valley View Winery

Willamette Valley Chardonnay, 2014, Winderlea Vineyard and Winery (biodynamic)

Old Stones Chardonnay, 2014, Bergstrom
Halpern Enterprises

Red Wines

Pre du Col Vineyard Pinot Noir, 201, Bergstrom

Silice Vineyard Pinto Noir, 2015, Bergstrom

Gregory Ranch Pinot Noir, 2015, Bergstrom

Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir, 2015, Bergstrom

Johan Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014, Bachelder

Willamette Valley Pinto Noir, 2014, Nicolas-Jay

Cuvee Alexandrine Pinot Noir, 2014, Phelps Creek Vineyards

Yamhill-Carlton Estates Pinto Noir, 2013, Shea Wine Celalrs

Ribbon Ridge Pinto Noir, 2014, Triseatum Winery

King’s Ridge Willamette Valley Pinto Noir, 2015, Union Wine Company

Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014, Winderlea Vineyard And Winery

Pinot Noir, 2013, Winderlea Vineyard And Winery

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