IPNC: notes on 33 Pinot Noirs from Oregon

oregon pinot noir

IPNC: notes on 33 Pinot Noirs from Oregon

IPNC 2017

The International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) is held each July in McMinnville, Oregon. This was my third time at this remarkable event, which brings together consumers and trade in a happy celebration of this thrilling grape variety, in the lovely setting of the Linfield College grounds. Over the course of the weekend, I tried quite a lot of Pinot Noirs from across the globe, but the heart of the event is recognizing what is going on in Oregon, a state that has had unusual success with this variety. These are my notes on the Oregon Pinots that I came across, in alphabetical order. As you’ll see from the scores, the standard of these wines is consistently high. There were a few absolute stand-outs though.

adelsheim elizabeth

Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 Willamette Valley, Oregon
Very fine, sappy andmineral with a hint of iodine, fine spices and herbs. Really elegant with a touch of warmth to the red cherry fruit. Lovely finesse here. So pretty and detailed with a savoury twist. 95/100

Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 Willamette Valley, Oregon
Supple and fine-grained with nice fresh red cherry and plum fruit. Expressive with nice sleek fruit. Very appealing and bright. 93/100

Antica Terra Antikythera 2014 Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Very supple and smooth with lovely silky black cherry fruit. Refined and smooth with a fresh spicy finish. Has elegance. 93/100

Bella Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
There’s a freshness here with some sweet, supple red cherry fruit. This has a ripe fruit core with some tannic grip on the finish. Attractive and focused. 92/100

Bethel Heights Pinot Noir 1994 Oregon
Sweetly mature with cherries, plums and hints of earth. Good structure here. Expressive with a smoothness under the slightly peppery, herby fruit. This is showing mellow maturity. 93/100

Big Table Farm Pinot Noir 2015 Willamette Valley, Oregon
Lifted and fragrant with an expressive nose. The palate is fine-grained and supple with sweet cherries and raspberries. Very silky and fine-grained with a fresh, sweet, supple personality. 94/100

Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Willamette Valley, Oregon
Very fine and expressive with lovely elegance. Midweight and pure and fine grained with nice savoury structure. This has incredible finesse and purity with a bit of warmth. 94/100

Brick House Pinot

Brick House Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir 2014 Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
Concentrated but very fresh and linear with lovely spiciness. Very fine-grained with good acidity. Linear and focused with nice definition. 94/100

Brick House Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir 2015 Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
Beautifully aromatic with sweet, sleek, elegant fruit. Supple on the palate with generous cherry fruit. Has freshness and elegance. 94/100

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Zépherine Pinot Noir 2014 Eola-Amity Hills, Burgundy
Sweetly aromatic with alluring ripe black cherries and spice. The palate is sweetly fruited and concentrated with bold, spicy black cherry and blackberry fruit. Rich, spicy and a bit silky in texture with lovely depth of fruit. Rich style. 93/100

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Cuvée Laurène 2012 Dundee Hills, Oregon
Supple with lovely texture and fine-grained structure. Lovely black cherry fruits ripeness but also elegance and nice structure. Lovely depth of fruit, but also a bit of non-fruit complexity. Shows finesse. 94/100

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Cuvée Laurène 2013 Dundee Hills, Oregon
Supple and structured with nice a spicy tang To the sweet cherry and berry fruits with elegance and structure. Good tannins. Attractive presence. 94/100

Dusky Goose Pinot Noir 2014 Dundee Hills, Oregon
Fresh, supple and elegant with nice weight on the mid-palate. Quite smooth and silky with some density to the palate but not at the expense of elegance. Nice stuff. 93/100

Evening Land La Source Pinot Noir 2014 Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
From the upper section of the vineyard, this is 50% whole cluster. Elegant and savoury with lovely fine, expressive cherry fruit, with a slight cedary edge. Pure with fine grained red cherry fruit. Real elegance to this wine with amazing finesse. 94/100

evening land anded

Evening Land Anden Pinot Noir 2014 Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
All whole cluster, and just one punch down. Floral and aromatic. So pretty and supple with real finesse. This has fine structure and hints of cedar and dried herbs, with lovely balance and a fine, silky mouthfeel. So beautiful and expressive. 95/100

Hyland Estates Coury Clone Pinot Noir 2014 McMinnville, Oregon
This is from self-rooted vines planted in 1971, from material that was smuggled in for Chuck Coury in 1964. Supple and rounded with nice sweet textural cherry fruit. Nice weight here. Quite smooth and balanced with really fine-grained structure. 94/100

Iris Vineyards Chalice Estate C Block Pinot Noir 2015 Oregon
Pommard clone, 30% new oak. Powerful, structured and sweet with a lot of vanilla oak. Polished and supple but the oak is too much at the moment. 89/100

Lingua Franca Mimi’s Mind Pinot Noir 2015 Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Concentrated, nicely defined and bold with sweet black cherry and blackberry fruits. Bold and full with ripe fruit but also good structure. Dijon and Pommard clones, part whole cluster, from Mimi Casteel’s vineyard. Lots of tannin. 93/100

Lingua Franca Joshua, Juinchi & Siri Pinot Noir 2015 Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
Carbonic and destemmed. Very floral and elegant with a bit of lift to the bright red cherry and berry fruit. Nice weight here with a supple, midweight personality and some lively spiciness. Very juicy and expressive with a hint of pepper. 93/100

Montinone Graham’s Block Pinot Noir 2014
Taut, leafy, spicy nose with a savoury twist to the berry fruits. Supple and sweet with lovely fine structure. Grippy, fresh and nicely poised with a savoury edge. 92/100

nicolas jay

Nicolas Jay Bishop Creek Pinot Noir 2015 Oregon
Supple and balanced with fine-grained, smooth structure, Elegant with nice concentration and focus. Juicy and ripe with lovely weight. So pure. 95/100

Nicolas Jay Pinot Noir 2015 Willamette Valley, Oregon
Lovely weight here with dense, sweet, structured black cherry fruit. Nice density with compact, sweet fruit. Still quite primary and dense with potential for development. Pretty, ripe wine, but stays in balance. 93/100

Phelps Creek Cuvée Alexandrine Pinot Noir 2014 Columbia Gorge, Oregon
Warm, rounded and textural with a nice fine-grained savoury structure, with a hint of mint and some black pepper characteristics. Has ripeness, but this is managed well. Bold with hints of leather and herbs. 91/100

Phelps Creek Cuvée Alexandrine Pinot Noir 2013 Columbia Gorge, Oregon
Sappy and leafy with some green herbal notes, a whiff of smoke, and supple cherry fruit. This is quite savoury and restrained with nice texture, a bit of mint, and some herby qualities on the finish. Drinkable and quite distinctive. 90/100

resonance pinot noir

Résonance Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
Fresh, pure and vivid with nice dense, sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. There’s nice grip here with focused, juicy fruit and some spicy structure. Really fine. 95/100

Résonance Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
Highly aromatic with very sweet, perfumed red fruits. Lush, sweet palate, but with lovely freshness too. Such a powerful yet pretty wine with a juicy, lively, spicy red fruit character. Some crunchy raspberries here with real depth. 94/100

Résonance Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
Warm, sweet, lifted aromatics on the nose. Cherries and raspberry jam, with a hint of tea leaf. Juicy, lively, vivid and supple with some grippy, peppery structure and some notes of undergrowth and decay in the background. Quite savoury. 91/100

Domaine Roy Iron Filbert Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Dundee Hills, Oregon
This is the first Estate wine from the vineyard which was planted in 2013. Very pretty, ripe, rich and dense with sweet berry fruits. Rich, fruity and seductive; polished and expressive. 93/100

Saffron Hills Pinot Noir 2014 Yamhill Carlton, Oregon
Sweet and nicely textured with red cherries and plum fruit and a nice spiciness. Lovely savoury twist to the palate with nice density and a bit of tannin. More red fruit than black. 93/100

saffron fields pinot noir

Saffron Fields Vineyard Heritage Clones Pinot Noir 2013 Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
Supple and vivid with a spicy edge to the sweet cherry and berry fruits. There’s some sweetness and density here with a silky texture and some fine spices. Forward, quite alluring, but balanced. 92/100


Westrey Pinot Noir Cuvée 22 2014 Dundee Hills, Oregon
Silky black fruits. Lively and juicy with some structure under the sleek black fruits. Shows fine-grained tannins. A lovely wine. 94/100

Willakenzie Estate Pierre Léon Pinot Noir 2014 Willamette Vallley, Oregon
Supple and sweetly fruited with a sweet, lush black cherry quality. Smooth and sweet with a bit of black pepper. Very attractive wine with nice polish. 92/100

Willakenzie Estate Pierre Léon Pinot Noir 2008 Willamette Vallley, Oregon
Sweetly aromatic. Showing some development with sweet black cherries, some earth and a hint of undergrowth. Ripe, sleek and sweetly fruited. 92/100

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1 Comment on IPNC: notes on 33 Pinot Noirs from OregonTagged ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

One thought on “IPNC: notes on 33 Pinot Noirs from Oregon

  1. With regard to the Iris C block Pinot noir notes your assessment is accurate; however, the overt oak profile (100% French oak) is intentional as I made the wine to appeal to that segment of the market. I hope you had an opportunity to taste some of the other wines we presented at IPNC. And if you do come to Oregon again please visit our winery and/or tasting room. Cheers!

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