by Barnaby Hughes
It’s not every day that representatives of 65 Willamette Valley wineries leave Oregon, especially to come to Los Angeles. Besides distance (about 1,000 miles), Oregon wineries face stiff competition from California wineries, which tend to be older and larger and have better brand recognition. At “Pinot in the City,” a tasting event organized by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, hundreds of Oregon winemakers and proprietors brought a selection of their finest wines to The Ebell of Los Angeles, an historic women’s club.
Each of the participating wineries was permitted to showcase just three of its wines, which typically included a white wine and two Pinot Noirs. The latter grape is widely considered to be Oregon’s signature varietal. Although California Pinot is more famous and commands higher prices, Oregon Pinot is quickly catching up.
So what’s the difference between Pinot Noirs from Oregon and those from California? Oregon Pinot has a reputation for being earthier in flavor and lighter in body. The contrast is by no means absolute, however, since styles vary considerably by region, producer and vintage. Domaine Drouhin Oregon, an offshoot of France’s Maison Joseph Drouhin, for example, creates Pinot Noir in a more Burgundian style. Their 2010 Cuvée Laurène Pinot Noir ($65) was one of the most elegant and expensive wines available for tasting at the event.
“Pinot in the City” was a great opportunity for us to meet face-to-face with representatives of some of the wineries whose Pinots we have praised so highly, such as Bill Blosser, founder of Sokol Blosser Winery. He was there pouring his Pinot Gris, one of GAYOT’s Top 10 Organic Wines. Also present was Michael Adelsheim, Director of Sales for Adelsheim Vineyard. We previously featured Adelsheim selections on our Top 10 Steak Wines and as Wine of the Week. We also enjoyed Pinot Noirs from Argyle, Angela Estate, Brooks, Coeur de Terre, Et Fille Wines, Lachini Vineyards, Maysara Winery and Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. We hope to share these and more with you in the future.
For more information, visit willamettewines.com/pinot-in-the-city
You can click on each photo to enlarge.