USA Pinot Tasting 2019

For many Burgundy remains the reference point and heartland of Pinot but several other regions around the world are making a name for themselves. Oregon is one and from its humble beginnings in the 1970’s it has matured to one of the most respected Pinot producers outside of France. Its reputation for Pinot Noir has come to largely represent Oregon’s wine industry on the world stage. It’s home to more than 730 wineries and more than 1,050 vineyards with 30,435 acres under cultivation. Its potential for high quality Pinot production has not been lost on the likes of Joseph Drouhin, Maison Louis Jadot and Maison & Domains Henriot who have all invested in in the region over the last 20 years.

While the wines are often produced in a ‘Burgundian mold’ its climate is considerably more maritime with milder winters and cooler summers to help temper Pinot’s temperamental nature. The soils play an equally important role and while both regions boast marine based soils, Burgundies limestone soils are replaced with slightly heavier sandstone and mudstone soils completely devoid of the carbonate dense sediments in Burgundy. What both do offer is the quick and free draining base prized for growing quality grapes.

Regardless of the comparison made over the past 50 years there has been a style of 'Oregon' Pinot Noir which has emerged. Lower acidity lends a plush texture and mouthfeel wound around a slightly more vigorous fruit profile. The wines are bright, silky sexy and elegant with a forward palate that runs the gambit of red and black fruits and mixed sweet spices. But to paint the Pinot of Oregon with such broad-brush strokes takes away from the what truly makes the wines of this region so sought after which is the multitude of nuance and variation that presents from the various collection of its 30,000+ acres of vineyards. Combine with that the complex of array of spoil type, variety of local topography as well as wine-making tradition and innovation and Oregon offers a plethora of choices for any discerning wine enthusiast.