It's official: Our wines are among world's best
By KARL KLOOSTER
Call it validation, verification, substantiation or confirmation. The vast majority of experts are in agreement about the truth, reality and accuracy of a longstanding Oregon claim.
Since the beginning, when David Lett first planted Pinot Noir vines in the Dundee Hills, local winegrowers were certain they had the potential to produce a superlative wine from the grapes. Although early encounters with superb French competition proved Oregon Pinot could hold its own, even out-class the finest Burgundian Pinots, naysayers persisted.
By the late 1990s, growing evidence that Northwestern Oregon in general and the Yamhill Valley in particular consistently produced world-class Pinot Noir could no longer be ignored. But the best?
Last year, a decade and a half later, after countless competitions and a mountain of awards, one of the world’s most highly regarded and widely read wine writers declared Oregon the best in the country, and, by extension, the equal of Burgundy’s best.
Wine Spectator Editor-at-Large Harvey Steiman, describing a recent visit to Oregon, where he met with several of the state’s most prominent winemakers, proclaimed: “The most recent Wine Spectator tasting report on Oregon reviewed approximately 380 Pinots, and more than half of them, from nearly 100 wineries, earned 90 points or higher on our 100-point scale.
“What makes the wines so good? Start with the vines, which seem to like Oregon’s combination of soils and climate. Growers and winemakers have climbed a steep learning curve, largely while sharing their expertise with one another. They learned how to coax the character and personality from grapes capable of greatness. Most importantly, the wines taste distinct from one another.
”The magazine’s annual Top 100 Wines of the World bestows a mark of excellence on every wine selected. Oregon wines made its best showing ever on the list in 2012 with four wines included.
The 2013 list also includes four Oregon wines, all from the Yamhill Valley. The Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Evenstad Reserve was ranked No. 3, the highest ranking ever achieved by an Oregon wine. Also appearing on the list were Alexana Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard (No. 17), A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir Oregon (No. 55) and Ken Wright Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District Savoya Vineyard (No. 79).