Oregon fall vineyard by Carolyn Wells Kramer

On November 15, 2018 the results from two important Oregon comprehensive tastings were published; first, The Wine Advocate’s Oregon report from this past summer was completed and posted, rounding out the total number wines to 1,121 reviewed across 15 AVAs, the most ever. And second, the James Suckling Oregon report from Nick Stock’s visit to Portland in late October was published, which contain’s Nick’s review of over 400 2016 Oregon Pinot noir and Chardonnays.

The mid-November issue of The Wine Advocate features Erin Brooks’ reviews and ratings from her inaugural Oregon visit this past June, a very hot one in our state’s history. Notable standouts include high scores for Southern Oregon, with the emergence of 90+ rated Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Malbec, Pinot Meunier and Viognier varieties. Ribbon Ridge, a small AVA nested within the Willamette Valley, nets the highest ratings of all AVAs, with 87% of wines submitted receiving 90 and up scores. Overall, the state’s wines are scoring around 52% for the 90 and up ratings. Additionally:

  • This year had the highest Chardonnay score ever for Oregon at 97+ for the Minimus Chardonnay 1984 Stein Vineyard. Second historically is the 2014 Highwire Chardonnay from Bethel Heights, awarded a 97 last year, both of these being Wente clones. The highest-rated Oregon wine ever is the 1985 Arterberry Maresh Red Hills Vineyard Pinot noir with a 98.
  • The Dundee Hills AVA shot up 11 percentage points for 90 and up wines at 73% this year, compared to 62% last year.
  • The Rocks and Walla Walla are now on the map.  This year, 13 Walla Wines were reviewed, and seven were 90 and up. The Rocks had one submitted (Laelops) and it was awarded a 91.
  • Pinot noir continued to shine with 696 reviewed this year compared to 318 last year and 385 of these were rated at 90 and up.
  • Sparkling made great strides with 16 submitted, and ten of these at 90 and up for a 63% ratio.

Erin wrote: “The best 2016s have something I rarely experience: layers of fruit, earth, spice and minerality…The quality of the Chardonnay in both the 2015 and 2016 vintages is exceptional. I was surprised by the purity of fruit expression, elegance and balance of the Chardonnays from producers like Goodfellow, Walter Scott, Bergström, Arterberry Maresh, Bethel Heights, Ponzi, Minimus and Sequitur, among others.”

“Things are moving fast in Oregon, and the future looks bright and sunny,” she concluded.

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JamesSuckling.com has approximately 4 million followers across the world. As for the newest Oregon report on 2016 Pinot noir and Chardonnays, reviewer Nick Stock had high praise for Oregon wines, and like many first time visitors was taken aback by our tasty Chardonnays. He wrote: “Our recent tastings of more than 400 wines in Portland, Oregon, lived up to expectations with a very strong showing of both Pinot noir and Chardonnay wines…the chardonnay wines for this region are unequivocally setting a more modern, more balanced and more consistent level of quality and style than in any other part of the United States…quality really does cascade through this tasting report and delivers a resoundingly plentiful selection of wines that occupy a deserved importance on the world stage of Pinot noir and Chardonnay.”

Also: “It really is impressive to see how far this region has come in a very short time in the game. The swagger, confidence and quality of wines on offer today show great determination, collaboration and drive on a human level that are applied to a range of terroirs resulting in high-quality Pinot noir.”

Additionally:

  • Nick reviewed 2016 Oregon Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Six were 97 points, eight were awarded a 96 and nine were rated 95.
  • 92% of the Oregon wines reviewed had a score of 90 plus, or 374 out of 406.
  • The lowest score for these 2016s was 83