Tasting the wines of Oregon

These notes accompany a in-depth feature on Oregon. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: On the Oregon trail – vineyards and wines.


CHEHALEM

Chehalem 2007 Inox Chardonnay
No Malo, no wood. Very fine apple and lemon fruited nose. Nice trace of pineapple. Lovely fresh palate, with sappy, greengage fruit but also excellent acidity. Very dry, with 0.3g/l RS, and only 13.5% ABV. Screwcap. $19.00

Chehalem Pinot Gris 2006
ice limpid pear fruit on the nose, with a suggestion of minerality. Has a rich, viscose mouthfeel. Nice mouthfeel, with plenty of full, fat fruit, but stays cool and focused, with good acidity. 6g/l of sugar, so off-dry. $19.00. 15.5%

Chehalem Pinot Gris 2007
Has a cooler, slightly green leaf note on the nose, with only 13.7% ABV. This has real freshness, with a little more green fruited bite, and lovely length.

Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2006
Single vineyard blend of 700 cases. 12.6% ABV Quite reserved, subdued nose, with hints of waxy, nectarine skins. Very nice acidity here, with a blast of orange and apple fruit, and that lime acidity pushing through. $21.

Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007
Slightly smoky, slightly flinty nose, with a blast of lemon and lime fruit and acidity. Very attractive, with lots of steely salinity. 12.7%

Chehalem Pinot Gris Reserve 2006
Seven months in older barrels, after 4 years in Chardonnay. Predominantly older vines planted at higher elevations, and retains a little more acidity. Lees stirring and malolactic. Big, rich, grippy mouthfeel, with a huge Alsace character. $24. 15.5%

Chehalem Pinot Gris Reserve 2007
So much cooler, with not so much barrel and alcoholic richness showing (only 13.5%). The palate has lovely lime and clean, lemon pith fruit. Lovely crispness here, and the polar opposite of the 2006.

Chehalem Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay 2005
1 year in all French oak, Very nice nose, showing hints of burnt orange and vanilla, with crunchy apple and fairly cool fruit. On the palate this has an expansive fruit quality, but retains tightness and an apple and lemon character. Oak just adds a touch of roasted quality, but clean and bright. Predominantly from the Stoller vineyard in Dundee. Only white under cork. $34

Chehalem Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay 2006
Nice bright quality to the fruit, with the creaminess of the oak in the background, and on the palate a lovely composed quality. It is big and bold, but has focused, very Burgundian quality.

Chehalem 3 Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006
Screwcapped, with a beautifully schisty nose, with lots of earth and briar wood. On the palate it is a little hot perhaps, with a big, forceful character. Quite a lot of heat and spice, perhaps overpowering the fruit. $34. 6,000 cases

Chehalem 3 Vineyards Pinot Noir 2007
Fantastic nose, full of creamy cappuccino, and a rich berry and bright cherry fruit, with nice touches of tobacco and herbs. The palate has lovely energy, with finesse and silkiness, but the crisp, energy of the fruit comes through. Rounded out with coffee, but delicious.

Chehalem Corral Creek Pinot Noir 2006
From the Chehalem mountain Coral C reek vineyard, this has a deliciously appealing nose, with fine beetroot and briar character. The palate has terrific fruit, with a rich concentration, and plenty of meaty, earthy character. The alcohol does bother me slightly again, with nice fresh acidity. 290 cases.

Chehalem Stoller Pinot Noir 2006
From the Dundee Hills, this has an attractive nose which is at first quite soft and mellow, before a tighter quality to the fruit comes through and a touch of minerality. The palate has a richness and suppleness, with a pure core of fruit that pushes through the higher alcohol. $45. 500 cases

Chehalem Ridgecrest Pinot Noir 2006
From Ribbon Ridge – a special sub-region with a marine fossil soil. Highest elevation vineyard and oldest vines at the top of the ridge. Ripens around two weeks later than Stoller. Really sensuous, deep, silky fruit on the nose, with a touch of gamy, animal character. The palate has a tight, very focused quality, with a touch of liquorice and very, very tight, supple tannins that fill the mouth. The weight of fruit and the smokiness of the oak powers through.

Chehalem Pinot Noir Reserve 2005
A blend of all three vineyards, about 70% Ridgecrest. Lovely charry toast, with a fragrant Sandalwood character. Whole bunch pressed. Selected barrels, which are chosen to be more ‘feminine’. The fruit comes through beautifully on the palate, with a fine, refined fruit quality, silky but has that energy and a taut precision. Very fine. $60

Chehalem Pinot Noir Reserve 2006
More subdued aromatics at present, with a subtle, suede-like character to the fruit, and again that hint of Sandalwood. The palate has terrific quality, with a really vibrant palate that is firm and has a really firm tannic background. This has plenty of orangy acidity and life, but a lovely full fruit quality with spices and coffee background.

Chehalem Cerise 2006
80% Gamay and 20% Pinot. Really nice nose, with plenty of floral and fruity characters, hints of black pepper and a real Gamay character coming through. The palate has a delicious life and zest about it, with fine spicy and nutty character, tight fruit and good overall balance – deliciously drinkable. $24.

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REX HILL & A to Z

A to Z Pinot Blanc 2007
Remarkably aromatic, with peach down and floral notes. The palate has nice body and a certain weight and breadth. Good fruit, with a tang of orangy acidity. Drinks very well, with good length.

Rex Hill Pinot Gris 2006
Big, ripe nose, with a certain fatness and richness. There is a little more residual sugar, and finishes with a soft, pear and even a hint of strawberry to the fruit. $16. 87/100

A to Z Pinot Gris 2007
Lovely lemon zest note to the nose, with a touch of cream and has a fairly decisive palate. There’s a clean, crisp, linear focus to this. Good length and vibrancy. $12. 86/100

A to Z Chardonnay 2006
“Oregon Chardonnay is the biggest story in the United States today,” says Deb Hatcher, describing how many people are watching its cool-climate potential. Slightly dumb, but has nice clean, crisp fruit on the palate. There’s a touch of residual sugar here that – for me – doesn’t sit entirely happily. 84//100

Rex Hill Chardonnay 2006
Nice soft nose, with a suggestion of tropical and lychee to nicely creamy, lightly toasty nose. The palate has good acids and a clean, pure focus. Quite a big wine, but has a nice balance and raciness. 86/100

Rex Hill William Hatcher Chardonnay 2005
Small batch, one-off wine with a nicely aromatic nose, with all sorts of exotic notes, from lychee and pepper to Sandalwood and nectarine skin. Good palate too, with length and precision. 89/100

A to Z Oregon Riesling 2007
From 25-year-old vines, some of the oldest in Oregon. Lovely Riesling nose: expressive lemon sherbet and talcum notes, with a shimmering acidity and lovely finesse. 89/100

A – Z Oregon Rosé wine 2007
Two days cold soaked Sangiovese from the southern Rogue Valley, which is made as a rose and not a bleed-off of a red wine. Really aromatic, filled with wild strawberry and raspberry, and even lavender. Juicy fruit, with lovely full-bodied weight. A nice wine this. 87/100

A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir 2006
There is a spice and cedar note here to bold, ripe red fruit. The palate has good fruit and a bit of heft, with chunky tannins and a liquoricy edge. 87/100

Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2006
Very nice spice and tobacco nose, with a touch of Bay leaf and caraway. The palate has deliciously ripe fruit, with a nice stripe of acidity like cherry skins that keeps this fresh. Sweet fruit and finesse here. 88/100

Rex Hill Dundee Hills Willamette Pinot Noir 2006
Intriguing hints of cerise and red liquorice, with plenty of cherry and red berries. On the palate has a liquoricy intensity, with a dark, plummy note, but all quite intense with the smokiness of the oak and just a little alcoholic heat coming through. 88/100

Rex Hill Sims Vineyard Willamette Pinot Noir 2006
Also from the Dundee Hills, from a top vineyard vinified separately as a special cuvee. Big, seductive Pinot nose, with very intense minerality and plenty of briar. Fine fruit on the palate, with really ripe and rich core, the tannins and acids giving nice tension. $28. 89/100

Rex Hill Jacob Hart Vineyard Willamette Pinot Noir 2006
Another fine nose, with lots of spice and briar, and fine sweetness of fruit. Delicious wine with lots of depth that becomes suede-like and rich in texture, with a smoky depth. $45. 91/100

Rex Hill William Hatcher Willamette Pinot Noir 2005
Around 400 cases only of this wine, where the fruit carries plentiful oak nicely, and there’s a certain plushness and velvety ripeness of fruit, and a shiny, glossy quality. The wine is composed and svelte, with a touch of cherry skin and vital acidity enlivening the finish. 92/100

Francis Tannahill Oregon The Hermit 2005
From the Tannahill’s biodynamic vineyard, there is a svelte, ripe, richness her too. The palate has lovely nutty richness but that same sense of composure and fruit forward purity of this vintage. Lots of energy and vibrancy. $45 dollars. 91/100

Francis Tannahill Mason Dixon Oregon Syrah 2005
Nice touches of leather and pepper, with a palate that has a slightly harsh edge perhaps, with very firm tannins though there is juicy fruit and a savoury mouthfeel. 89/100

A – Z Night and Day Red Wine 2005
A blend with all sorts of things in it from Sangiovese and Nebbiolo to Syrah, that changes slightly each year. Very bright, fruity, blackcurrant aromatics. The fruit seems very ripe and sweet. The palate has a fantastic sweetness and a broad, nicely balanced finish. A delightful everyday red. 87/100

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DOMAINE DROUHIN

Domaine Drouhin Arthur Chardonnay 2006
From the family estate, this wine was barrel fermented and aged at one time. Now 60% in tank, 40% barrel ferment, all in neutral oak. Lovely oak quality, with fine, nutty and light vanilla tone to crisp, well-defined, clear apple fruit. The palate has real power, with fantastic depth and has a nice line of acidity running through. 90/100

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir 2005
95% estate fruit. Lovely smoky, charry ground coffee and espresso background to quite plush cherry fruit. The palate has a beautifully silky texture, with very nice fruit that is rounded and sweet, filling the mid-palate before very refined, suede-like tannins and nicely integrated but persistent acidity pushes through the finish. Lovely stuff. 91/100

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir 2006
Slightly closed at present, but the fruit is very solid and ripe, dominating the oak at this stage, which sits in the background. The palate is bigger than the 2005, both in terms of fruit density and tannic structure. But this has good balance, the fruit retaining a fresh, ripe character, and the grippier tannins adding a little plum-skin grip. Warm and expansive in the finish, this is a very mouth-filling and lush wine. Tough maybe it lacks a touch of the 2005’s precision, it has power and substance. 91/100

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Cuvée Laurène 2004
Current vintage, of this barrel-selection, which is vinified exactly as the Pinot, but sepnds 18 month sin bottle before release. Lovely earthy tones, with a touches of tobacco and some herbal notes. Palate has a lovely lightness of touch with the cherryish brightness of fruit And swoft, elegant tannin structure, with touches of chocolate and a lovely core of acidity. Very loing and deliciuous. 93/100

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Cuvée Laurène 2005
This has the powerful charry oak quality on the nose again much like the 2005 Pinot Nor, and there is a sultry, deep but quite ripe fruit quality. The palate is enlivened by a refined orange acidity, with quite a tight, precise, controlled acidity. This is a very priceise, mineral style, with real energy. 92/100

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Cuvée Laurène 2001
This has a definite herbal, leafy edge, with the fruit coming through, and a nice earthiniess emerging. The palate has that herbal note to, with lovely acids and again that chartacteristic energy. 89/100

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SOKOL BLOSSER

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Gris 2007
Fantastically aromatic nose, with an almost Sauvignon-like tropical fruit and lychee character. On the palate delightful acidity and a sense of minerality; knife-edge balance with a pithy lemon finish. 89/100

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2005
Lovely sweet earth and ripe cherry nose, with full fruit and a little touch of briar and cedar. The palate has lovely hints of strawberry and cherry fruit, with the weight of creamy oak supporting. 91/100

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2006
A little bit dumb at this stage, but there is a sense of the fruit being a little bit plummier and more dense. Has a racy edge to the fruit, with a tight cherry skin grip and very nice but grippy tannins. Lovely balance. Has structure, though from young vines replanted after phylloxera. 91/100

Sokol Blosser Meditrina 5 NV
Blend of home 27% Pinot Noir, 48% Syrah from the Columbia Valley in Washington and 25% Zinfandel from Paso Robles in California. Smoky, slightly schisty with little garrigue notes and a lovely jammy fruit freshness. The mid-palate has lovely density. 89/100

Sokol Blosser Evolution 12 NV
Muller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner is the recipe for this immediately aromatic wine with its lovely tension and acidity and that hint of sweetness through a touch residual sugar. 89/100

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SINEANN

Sineann Sauvignon Blanc 2007
From Marlborough, lovely pungent nose, with fine verdant qualities and a bone-dry palate with good acidity, no sweet and sour character.

Sineann Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Noticeably richer than the NZ wine, with less aromatics, but has a ripe, full-bodied character.

Sineann Oregon Pinot Gris 2007
From the Hood river, much drier and warmer than Willamette, but vineyards at elevation. Very nice, refined aromatics,. with lots of verve and punch. Lots of punchy peachy flavour and a lovely acidity pushing through.

Sineann Gewürztraminer Celilo Vineyards Columbia Gorge 2007
Very pungent, with a big fat bacon fat nose, with some big aromatics, packing punch of fruit. This is dry, but has lots of fruit sweetness.

Sineann Gewurztraminer Oak Ridge Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2007
Aromatically closed, with a much spicier, more solid mouthfeel. Terrific density, with a touch of grapefruit pith acidity and phenolics.

Sineann Riesling Willamette 2007
Fabulous mineral nose, with lemon zest and a touch of yellow plum, then a big tangerine finish.

Sineann Marlborough Pinot Noir 207
Dense, chocolaty nose, with a certain richness, and has a little bit of earth and coffee. The palate has a plumy density, with a rich bramble and earth fruit.

Sineann Phelps Creek Pinot Noir Columbia Gorge 2006
Nice, subdued, savoury nose with an earthy, quite plush depth and plenty of spice. The palate has a toffee and chocolate richness.

Sineann Lachini Vineyard Willamette Pinot Noir 2006
Quite creamy and rich, with a fudge-like weight and good berry fruit. The palate has a real ripeness and I like the acidity in this. Very rich, powerful but stylish.

Sineann Wyeast Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Fine coffee and tobacco notes to rich, solid fruit. The palate has plenty of fruit: real fruit sweetness, but balanced by thick, ripe tannins and enough acidity. Very lush and dramatic.

Sineann Merlot Columbia Valley 2006
Savoury, dense, with a really nice savoury structure, and lovely black fruit depth.

Sineann Cabernet Sauvignon Lazare vineyard 2006
Fabulously aromatic nose, fantastic cabernet character with a touch of mint leaf and lovely blackcurrant fruit. This has fantastic structure and a fabulous weight and density. Quite chocolaty and has fantastic presence. Fabulous stuff.

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ATTICUS

Atticus Pinot Noir 2005
Very fragrant, lovely gentle cedarwood aromatics. Tiny notes of tobacco and smoke to quite bright, gentle red fruit. The palate has a balanced delicacy, with savoury acidity and a background streak of something liquoricy to the tannins. Delicate and balanced. 89-90/100.

Atticus Pinot Noir 2006
About 25% new oak for this cuvee, but after racking and blending, back into new oak just to add a little flesh. Very forward, quite plush and ripe, with a little touch of floral and herbal aromas. This has more sweetness on the palate, with a really full, juicy cherry fruit. Has a fleshier appeal, with a big, chewy tannic background and plenty of spice. Has a little heat of alcohol. 88/100.

Atticus Select Pinot Noir 2006
Barrel selection, mostly Yamhill Springs fruit, has a little more new oak (60%) to suit the jammy, more ripe fruit. Quite a tight, muscular black fruit nose. The palate has a deep-set pool of limpid black fruit, with the edge of sweet, juicy cherry. It has a solid, rich, sweet and silky complexity. Very long finish. 91/100.

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BERGSTRÖM

Bergström Dr Bergström Riesling 2007
Fermented with German yeasts, this has a beautifully clear and clean nose, with very fine aromatics, with just a touch of green, herbal character to zesty lemon and crisp apple fruit, but very crisp and lively. The palate has a lovely suggestion of sweet peachy fruit, but is absolutely riven with razor-sharp acidity. Glittering stuff. 92/100

Bergström Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir 2006
Cumberland is named after the Bergstrom family’s home. 100% Pinot from every appellation in Oregon’s northern Willamette: Josh says every soil type and clone found in Willamette makes it into this wine with fruit from 15 growers. 6,000 cases of this are made, which is over half of the entire annual production. Big, opulent nose, with lush berry flavours and plenty of tobacco and cedar, menthol. The palate has that same touch of cool, menthol flavour, and a nice spine of tight, quite grippy tannin. There’s an edge of liquorice, and though the smoky, charry note of the finish adds depth, it remains fresh. 90/100

Bergström Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
From the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. One of Oregon’s better-known vineyards, selling fruit to 22 wineries in Oregon and California. Plenty of animal and gamy, spicy tones here, with a lovely Burgundian feel. The mouthfeel is ripe and relatively soft for this big wine. The fruit is creamy and ripe, with lots of exuberant, dark fruit and chocolaty character. Stays fresh. 92/100

Bergström De Lancelotti Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Next two wines are estate wines, farmed by Josh and his crew Biodynamically using native yeasts. De Lancelotti is Josh’s sister’s vineyard, just behind the winery. Beautifully mellow, but aromatic and spicy, with nutmeg and tobacco notes, and a plush fruit character that is just touched by a little herbal note. Complex nose. The palate has dark fruit, with cherry and racy, star anise spice, and that freshness of natural acidity, harvested with high, Burgundian levels of acid even in this hot year. 93/100

Bergström Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
15 acres of Pinot in the Dundee Hills, from volcanic red soils. There is a mineral, ferrous quality, in a much more subtle nose (Josh says needs three years in bottle to really show). Lovely delicate notes of vanilla and some undergrowth and truffle. Again, very fresh. The palate has a lovely edge of freshness, with very racy acidity and a really tight, sharp spine of tannin set against tangy cherry and plum-skin fruit. Has weight and texture, but extremely Burgundian and complex. 94/100

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LEMELSON VINEYARD

Lemelson Dry Riesling 2006
Very light, floral, talcum and nicely peachy Riesling. Good fresh, but very light on the palate. 86/100

Lemelson Dry Riesling Willamette 2007
Pronounced floral, almost lavender nose, with plenty of vibrancy. The palate has a shimmering core of lime fruit, with just a hint of sweetness. 88/100

Lemelson Tikka’s Run Pinot Gris 2007
Nice bright pear and lemon fruit on the nose. Lovely racy, food-friendly character, with bright acidity and the crisp, clean white fruit character. Very appealing and well pitched. 88/100

Lemelson Reserve Chardonnay 2006
Lovely nose with touches of green fig and honey, and with a nice apple core of very ripe fruit. The fruit has lovely definition, with the lemon zest citrus finish slicing through vanilla and ripe apple flavours. 89/100

Lemelson Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir 2006
Little touch of ferns and cedar to quite bold, ripe, berry fruits. The palate has some cough mixture quality, but the fruit comes through powerfully, with a nice balance despite the ripeness and heat. 89/100

Lemelson Anderson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Little touches of coffee and spices in amongst autumnal, gently earthy Pinot fruit. The tannins are powerful, but ripe and svelte, with lots of cut and thrust from the fruit. Long and succulent. 90/100

Lemelson Chestnut Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
From a higher elevation site, with a slightly smoky, almost roasted chestnut quality, with lots of fudge and sweet, dense fruit. A touch of bacon fat. The palate has really sweet fruit – a lovely rounded character, with a balanced spicy finish. 91/100

Lemelson Stermer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
A tiny floral note, with leafy, bold, earthy fruit packed quite solidly into the nose. The palate is not as expressive as the Chestnut Hill, with the fruit very slightly compressed, though the finish is powerful, spicy and full. 89/100

Lemelson Meyer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Bigger, more ripe and plush, with heady spices and deep-set berry fruit. Very plush and mouth-filling, with that plush, coffee and spice palate filling the mouth. More Californian in style perhaps, but very good indeed. 89/100

Lemelson Jerome Reserve Pinot Noir 2006
A selection of barrels from Meyer and Stermer. Cinnamon and nutmeg and a nice earthy Pinot, slightly gamy character, but red fruit brightness comes through too. The palate has a long, cool character despite 14.6% alcohol. 91/100

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AMITY VINEYARDS

Amity Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc 2006
There’s also 9% Auxerrois in the blend of this bright, clean wine with a nose that’s quite subdued, but with pear and peachy notes. Fine, very rich palate, with good weight and a touch of leesy richness. Very nice and crisp, with pithy lemon and orange acidity. 86/100

Amity Willamette Valley Dry Gewürztraminer 2006
Very good expression of Gewurz., with a certain smokiness and a touch of bacon fat. There is lychee and some mango. On the palate it is pretty powerful and a touch phenolic, but has fine Gewürztraminer character. 88/100

Amity Eco-Wine Pinot Noir 2007
‘Eco-Wine’ is Myron’s organic and sulphite-free label. Intense, nicely mineral and schisty tones. Bright, clear cherry fruit, with a nice grippy, savoury, quite food-friendly style. 87/100

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2006
Only 2600 cases of this wine are made, but it does come to the UK. Lovely rich fruit, with bramble and rich cherry fruit. Nice touch of briar and cedar, with a touch of new oak, but almost all older oak barrels. Nice balance. 88/100

Amity Crannell Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Lovely Pinot nose, with some creamy, light, sprightly characters of red fruit and a touch of floral. Very juicy fruit – nice, crisp wine. 88/100

Amity Sunnyside Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Interesting herbal quality, with quite a light, cherry fruit. Background of cedar. The oaky spice and the spiciness of the grape and tannins comes through, with quite a broad, rich mid-palate and good balancing acidity in the finish that becomes quite bright and crisp. Delicious. 90/100

Amity Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Nice chocolate and fudge notes to rich, rounded fruit. A touch of baked fruit, but not stewed. Fleshy and rounded, with a warm, ripe tannins adding breadth. Delicious again. 89/100

Amity Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2006
Very rich and fine, with lots of tannin and rich, full, fleshy palate. Good fruit and a substantial wine that needs time. 89/100

Amity Willamette Valley Riesling 2006
Beautiful, shimmering, very Mosel-like nose, with a touch of peach and a touch of lemon sherbet. There is a pithy grapefruit and lemon zest touch, with 14g/l with delicious balance. Very fine. 88/100

Amity Late Harvest Riesling 2002
Gorgeous honeyed nose, with lemon-drop fruit. The palate has fantastic balance, a touch of weight and a shimmering balance of acidity and sweet nectarine fruit. 91/100

Amity Late Harvest Gewürztraminer 2002
Nice wine, with a little bit of the Gewurz character, but although it is slightly thinner on the palate. Very good. 88/100

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THE FOUR GRACES

The Four Graces Pinot Blanc 2007
Dundee Hills fruit., from the vineyard above the winery. Lovely aromatics here, with a little floral edge to quite leesy, bright pear fruit. The palate has a very fine pear and lemon rind quality, with lovely finesse and clarity. 800 to 1200 cases. 88/100

The Four Graces Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2006
A blend of fruit from both Dundee Hills and Carlton vineyards. All estate fruit, Very fine briar wood nose. There’s vanilla and rich, ripe bramble fruit on. The palate has really sweet fruit, with refined, creamy oak coming through. 88/100

The Four Graces Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Reserve 2006
Quite intense, with a touch of minerality and very well defined cherry and raspberry fruit. Vanilla and a touch of coffee, with tight tannins and a nice orange-zest acidity. Very tangy and well balanced, with a good rounded character. 89/100

The Four Graces Dundee Hills Black Family Estate Pinot Noir 2005
Eight barrels from some of the best little slice of vineyard in the Dundee Hills, planted in 1990 with Dijon clone 777. Very clear black fruit nose with a touch of cherry, and a background of minerality. There’s a cherry-skin tension to the fruit here, with that charry background of oak adding a lot of depth. Very fine quality. 91/100

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SCOTT PAUL WINES

Scott Paul Pinot Noir Cuvée Martha Pirrie 2006
This is Scott Paul’s entry level Pinot, that retails for $24. A touch of green character, with some olive and herbal notes. Interesting nuances of cherry fruit and a touch of vanilla. Nicely broad, flavoursome palate with good acids and a lean, savoury finish with a touch of lemon. 400 case production. 87/100

Scott Paul Pinot Noir Cuvée La Paulee 2006
2000 cases of this cuvée are made, and again it has an elegant, slightly leafy and Burgundian nose, with vanilla and touch of coffee. Nice sense of minerality. Slightly more succulent, sweeter and fuller fruit on the palate, but stil has that light-bodied style. Very tangy and lip-smacking, with a touch of edgy liquorice on the finish, but delightfully fresh and vibrant. 89/100

Scott Paul Pinot Noir Cuvée Audrey 2006
Named after Audrey Hepburn: “naturally beautiful and not over made up – not a Pamela Andreson wine,” says Scott. The 100 cases of this wine are all sold on allocation. From the Marsh vineyard of 33-year-old vines, this has that house style of slightly herbal and cedary nuances, but the brightness of red fruit: raspberry, cherry and redcurrant comes through powerfully. The palate has some weight and ripeness, with lovely sweet fruit. This has more vanilla and sweetness, with good length. Very cool, smooth and long. A very Burgundian feel. 92/100

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CRISTOM VINEYARDS

Cristom Pinot Gris 2006
All estate fruit. Subtle, little touch of orange zest. Very nice palate weight, with richness and just a hint of sweetness, but really a very dry, yellow plum quality. 88/100

Cristom Viognier 2006
Fermented in barrel, but all old barrels or steel barrels. There’s a leesy richness, and a sense of dried apricot and a touch of orange zest. The palate has lovely grapefruit pith acidity, with a raciness that cuts through. Very powerful, but finishes balanced and clean.89/100

Cristom Mt Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir 2006
Quite light, racy, a touch of schisty quality. The palate has a touch of tight, quite grippy tannic grip, and the fruit is submerged behind that earthy, sinewy quality. The Pinot quality does come through very nicely. Bottled after one year in oak, only around 15 – 20% new. 88/100

Cristom Sommers Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2006
A blend of purchased and estate fruit like the Mt Jefferson, but made with all the attention to detail of the estate. 60% new oak on this, with a minty, charry quality of very high quality oak. Lovely sweet ripeness of fruit with a touch of juicy cherry, with a nervosity perhaps through the stems adding a tannic freshness. 90/100

Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Barrel selection from a single vineyard, in 60% new oak. Very nice cherry and tobacco fruit nose. Nice little vanillin slick, with very ripe, sweet fruit, that melds nicely with the slick of vanilla, before ripe but grippy and full tannins add some grip. Acidity is fairly low, but it is balanced. 91/100

Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Black fruit character, with a slightly higher toned violetty edge. Has a lovely mouthfilling presence again, and a really savoury edge, with a touch of gaminess and a juicy, savoury grip and life about. 92/100

Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
From the oldest vineyard, very widely spaced in 12 foot rows. On own rootstocks and has some Phylloxera. A more schisty and mineral nose, with quite lean, bright, cherryish fruit. The palate has an orangy tang of acidity and a nice touch of herbal lift. 91/100

Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
15-year old vines – the oldest established by current owners. Very tight, focused, dark red fruit. A touch of game in quite a muscular profile. The palate has a very tight, dense and edgy black fruit, with a density and succulence. Very fine. 92/100.

Cristom Estate Syrah 2005
A tiny percentage of Viognier co-fermented, but Steve doesn’t want too much Viognier character so will monitor this. Nice bright, solid, refined fruit quality, quite cool with a touch of greenness, but sits very nicely, just adding a herbal edge. The palate has a touch of that green character too, a touch of olive, but savoury and stylish on the finish. 90/100

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FIRESTEED

Firesteed Oregon Chardonnay 2007
From Walla Walla fruit on the Oregon side of the Columbia valley , and touch of Willamette fruit to lower acidity slightly this has rich, toasty oak, but plenty of powerful white fruit. On the palate rich and creamy, but the acidity is good and pushes through. 88/100

Firesteed Pinot Noir 2007
Fruit source is 20% estate grown and 80% from Willamette growers, with touches from Walla Walla. Has a slightly brown colour, though there is 10% of other grapes in the blend, including a fair amount of white grapes. Earthy tones, with warm briar and cherry. Nice grip, and whilst a fairly rustic, chunky style, really good Pinot character. Winemaker Bryan Croft uses the ‘Pulse-air’ system in his fermentation tanks for this wine, which sends a huge, three-foot diameter bubble of compressed air through the tank to break the cap and circulate the contents without oxidising or over-macerating the fruit. 88/100

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WITNESS TREE

Witness Tree Estate Pinot Blanc 2006
Lightly herbal notes, with a background of pear and apple, just a hint of ginger. Rounds out the mouth, with quite a broad, juicy texture and still good acidity. Very fruity and rich. 87/100

Witness Tree Estate Viognier 2006
Nice aromatic expression of Viognier, with some little floral and honeysuckle notes, leading onto a palate that has quite oily texture, but not too thick. 87/100

Witness Tree Vintage Select Chardonnay 2006
This has around 50% new oak, and it certainly comes through on the nose as a note of coffee and charry vanillin. On the palate there is very nice, plump, sweet fruit, with a tang of something orange and nice citrus acidity. That acisity is perhaps a touch low acidity, and though delicious, perhaps could be a little crisper. 87/100

Witness Tree Estate Pinot Noir 2006
This cuvée accounts for 3,500 cases from the total of 5,000 cases of Pinot produced. Nice blend of glossy cherry fruit, with sweet vanilla and quite a warm, upfront fruitiness. The wine is ripe and full, and though low in acid, it is still well balanced, approachable and delicious. 88/100

Witness Tree Vintage Select Pinot Noir 2006
75% new oak. Deep, seductive, glossy cherry fruit. Dark and full-fruited, with little notes of cedar. The palate has breadth and silky texture, and finishes with lots of oomph. 89/100

Witness Tree Benchmark Pinot Noir 2005
From a “bench” of volcanic basalt soil, about 100 cases produced. Very nice, silky Pinot nose, with very distinctive, refined fruit, and a lovely fruit sweetness. The creamy, sweet oak fills in, and there is a touch of coffee darkness to the tannins. Very stylish. 91/100

Witness Tree Claim 51 Pinot Noir 2005
Very deep, creamy, quite earthy and a touch of forest floor. Very sweet fruit – blackberry and ripe Morello cherry – and good structure here, with a nice lemony acidity. 90/100

Witness Tree Hanson Pinot Noir 2006
Nice beetrooty Pinot quality, with light briar and touches The palate has a light, very bright and focused blackberry and dark cherry fruit. There is nice balance here, despite the riper fruit and I suspect, higher alcohol, with good balance. 90/100

Witness Tree Sweet Signé 2007
Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Viognier in equal proportions, picked into small baskets and deep frozen. Loaded into the press frozen, fermented to 8 or 9% alcohol with around 20% residual acidity. Little Muscat-like floral notes, with delicate ripe pear aromas. The palate has full, luscious sweetness. There is fine acidity and a lovely icewine style with great fruit purity. Only 120 cases. 90/100

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VIRIDIAN WINES

Viridian Pinot Gris 2006
Nice green fruit aromas, with green apple and a touch of leesy richness, also a touch of green bean and nettle. The palate has good mouthfeel, and a touch of green bean quality, that hints at a touch of under-ripeness, but it broadens out in the finish with good texture. Quite chewy and robust. 85/100

Viridian Pinot Noir Rosé 2007
Pale ruby colour. Lacks a little fruit on the nose, with a touch of strawberry though a slightly green character. Plenty of residual sugar here, with a sweet strawberry impression and lowish acidity. A sweet and slightly confected style that lacks Pinot character. 82/100

Viridian Pinot Noir 2006
Aged in 23% new oak for nine months, both American and French, with a touch of Hungarian too. Dark, vibrant colour. Big, bracken nose, with a slightly vegetal and rustic nose. The palate delivers quite nice Pinot fruit, with a solidity and solid, liquoricy quality to the tannins. This has good presence in the mouth, with a decent finish, though a clash between a touch of residual sugar and a slightly astringent note just detracts. 84/100

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WILLAMETTE VALLEY VINEYARDS

Willamette Valley Vineyards Willamette Valley Riesling 2007
For this wine some unfermented juice is added back after fermentation – very much like Germany’s ‘süssreserve’. Beautifully crisp, mineral nose. Bright apple and lemon fruit, and just a hint of something peachy. The palate has nice weight and the flavours and just a little off-dry, sweetening point. Delightful. 87/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Willamette Pinot Gris 2007
Very nice nose on this, with a cool, verdant touch of fruit. Lovely aromatics (a touch of Muscat and a touch of Pinto Blanc). Very crisp and fresh. 88/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Griffin Creek Vineyards Viognier 2004
Made with fruit from the south of Oregon, this has a nice touch of green, leafy character with a subtle but very nice pear fruit coming though. The palate has decent balance, and a crisp, quite pure and long finish. This is really quite stylish and has good Viognier personality. 88/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2007
Fresh, very Beaujolais-like nose with lots of cherry and a touches of briary quality. Crisp, bright, nicely focused and dry. A very dry and savoury. Very racy and tasty. 86/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2006
Blend from a couple of different vineyards. The nose has very nice, rounded, smooth and silky aromatics and delightful black fruit. Big, rich coffee and cocoa-edge tannins and very nice balance. 88/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Willamette Valley Estate Pinot Noir 2006
Lower crop yield than the Willamette above, and a little more new oak. Rich, toasty, charry coffee and a touch of mint. The palate is quite tight and structured. There’s an edge of cherry and plum skin and a roughening tannin character. Very structured, with grippy mid palate and fine, slaty, mineral undertone. 90/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir 2006
Lovely, rich, very dark and smoky nose, with lots of sensuous earthy and gamy character. There is lovely fruit sweetness here, with lots of fruit presence on the mid palate and a rounded, silky mouthfeel. Although the big tannins of the vintage are there, this maintains a juiciness too, and has lovely length. 92/100

Willamette Valley Vineyards Willamette Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir 2006
A barrel selection of the estate vineyards from the lowest cropping vineyards in one-third new oak. Very sweet, vanilla-infused nose, with a touch of mineral slatyness coming though. Fine cherry fruit. Excellent fruit sweetness, with coffee and Christmas cake spices character, soft tannin structure and good balance. Develops a bit of grip. Very fine. 92/100

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