You may remember in March 2020, Josh Raynolds, editor of Vinous put out the call for us to gather as many wine samples as producers could send him right as stay-at-home orders were issued to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  This was a poignant time for wine and wine writers who  had planned annual pilgramages to Oregon that they could no longer do safely, so wines were sent directly to the writers at home. This report was published on August 4, earning the title Oregon Pinot Noir: The Winning Streak Continues. A beautiful article in itself, 100+ ratings  are also attached to it, with nine Oregon wines rated at 96, and the love continues on the Vinous vintage chart, where Josh rated Oregon’s 2018 vintage as a 94, one of the highest historically for our state. he wrote:

A uniformly outstanding, if warm to hot vintage across the region, producing wines that are in a deep, often muscular, darker fruited style than most years, but the fruit is energetic. The word here is more power than delicacy. Tannins levels can be on the high side, ensuring ageworthiness, and patience is highly recommended. (8/20, JR)

From the Vinous article: “Established in 1977 by Ted and Terry Casteel, Bethel Heights Vineyard has long been a benchmark for complex, elegant Pinot Noir.”

And if you ever wonder these reviews ever reach further than the industry or have any effect on the retail landscape, consider this; The Garagiste in Renton, WA reported a noticeable bump in sales from it. They wrote in their newsletter, With Josh Raynolds’ 2018 Oregon review this week (Vinous), a big spotlight has been showered on the Willamette Valley and the 2018 vintage in general (he rated the vintage one of the best in the history of Oregon, 94pts) – as a result, there’s been a flurry of acquisition activity in the Willamette Valley over the last few days and, much like Burgundy, most of the top artisan/small-batch examples will evaporate from the market quickly – the production is generally on the miniscule side of things.”

Thank you David Patte of Sun Break Wine and Cider, the South Willamette Valley’s newest winery, for your help in shining a spotlight on this accolade!