Oregon Pinot Noir is a difficult wine to understand. For many people, it takes years of sifting through the inexpensive Oregon wines offered up as examples — and wondering why anyone would cherish the lackluster and dirty wines. The answer is, because it’s not an easy wine to master, and its rarely inexpensive to do so. It’s a special wine that delivers both enough fruit and complexity PLUS enough value to make an Oregon Pinot stand far apart from the crowd, and this month we have two releases that do just that.
Our upper-end Pinot Noir is the Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir from Penner Ash. I featured the winery in an article for Examiner.com this summer. Their modern winery is an impressive facility, constructed under the rare opportunity of being fully funded from the start. The benefit is seen in the well-crafted wines, which are tended in the best way by new, state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.
It’s no surprise then that, when they collect up the grapes from their estate Dussin Vineyard, they’re able to bring forth an on-target expression of what Oregon Pinot is all about. Layered flavors with elegance, depth and restrained fullness are revealed as a training course in deliciousness ready to age 10 years or more. Owners and winemakers Lynn and Ron Penner Ash describe the Dussin Pinot:
Aromas of black cherry, rose petals and Asian spice. Broad and elegant on the palate with hints of Italian plum, cherry cola and dark chocolate. Extended finish of blackberries and vanilla.
Be ready to pair this versatile wine with just about any meal, including elegantly-styled beef or extravagant holiday meals. You can also just relax with a glass on the deck overlooking your favorite scenery and imbibe in the contemplative layers.
The Penner Ash 2007 Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir is regularly sold for $56.99 but is available to wine club members for only $52.99!
Thankfully, it’s not absolutely necessary to spend $40-50 on a good Oregon Pinot. For those of us inclined to enjoy a guilt-free bottle of good Pinot, there are some examples out there, noteably present with the Bishop Creek 2006 Barrel Select.
I had a chance to taste this wine yesterday, and was stunned when I saw the price. The wine delivered fully with Pinot Noir character, but with a trail-mix blend of berries, cherries, chocolate and herbs. Medium bodied and smooth, it held its own against several other more expensive wines that showed either more simplistic fruit and/or lifeless personality. The Bishop Creek wine had a balanced acidity that made it pair very well with the Asian-fusion appetizers nearby, but it would pair wonderfully with a nice salmon dish, pulled pork sandwiches, or even gourmet pizzas.
It would also be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner!
The Bishop Creek 2006 Barrel Select Pinot Noir is no longer available.
- Visit the Penner Ash winery website
- Discover Oregon wines at oregonwine.org
- Read a SF Chronicle article about New Zealand‘s recent success with Pinot Noir
Have you tasted these wines? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy either of these wines, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.