Thursday, January 05, 2006

Oregon Pinot Noir – The Under Appreciated World Class Wine

Pinot Noir grapes are finally getting the attention it has long deserved. Though Pinot Noir is one of the oldest red wine varietals, dating back to Roman times, it has been under appreciated in the US as a red wine with complexity, depth and outstanding flavor. American’s had often passed over Pinot Noir for a glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. But the ranting in the movie “Sideways” has made many wine drinkers pause and reconsider pulling a bottle of Pinot Noir instead of their favorite Merlot. Yet, of those people who have give Pinots a try, few realize the best domestic Pinot Noir’s actually come from Oregon. With wines that rival the world class wineries of Burgundy, Oregon Pinot Noirs are worth taking the time to discover.

A great way to get to know any wine, be it the great Italian wines in Tuscany or the memorable wines of the Rhone, is to visit the region. Oregon’s Pinot Noir is no different, so the best place to discover a world class wine would be a trip to the Willamette Valley. A short drive from the metropolitan city of Portland, Oregon, one will find themselves in the heart of Oregon’s premier wine growing region. With well over 200 wineries, lodging and activities for all ages, wine enthusiasts of all ranges will discover an enjoyable adventure.

Upon tasting some of these wines I promise you will experience a lasting impression. First, you will be struck by intense aromas of ripe grape; that can range from vaguely pepperminty to black cherry. In the glass the Pinot Noir’s are a myriad of brilliant reds that can range to somewhat inky. These wines are often described as full bodied but not heavy. Rather Pinot Noir has a soft, velvety texture. When it is done right the wine feels like liquid silk which gently caresses the taste buds. Although Pinot Noir can be cellared for around six to eight years, it doesn’t necessarily need as much cellaring as some of the more tannic reds such as Cabernet.

If you don’t have time to visit the Willamette valley to sample wine, I suggest you at least take the time to bring at least one of Oregon’s Pinot Noirs home. With many great Oregon Pinot’s to try it can be difficult to know where to start. Of course at any wine store worth frequenting they will have few Oregon Pinot Noirs to suggest. If they don’t I recommend finding a new wine store. It’s time you did yourself a favor and begin your appreciation of the world class flavors of Oregon Pinot Noir.

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