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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine & Spirits: "This blend is focused on Cristom’s four Eola-Amity Hills vineyards. It’s a dense mélange of stem spice, smoke, graham flour and tobacco, with plummy fruit that absorbs the savory elements, and a sturdy oak component that cradles the lot of it in a warm embrace. Tasted over several days it gains polish and elegance, the oak integrating into something more burnished and structural, lending direction without weight." (4/2013) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kept for 18 months rather than the Jefferson Cuvee’s 12 months in barrels, a higher percentage of which are new, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot N ...Read More »
With a goal of affordability and accessibility for everyone, Union Wine Company delivers its Rosé in a can that is "approachable and ready to travel."
92 points Wine & Spirits: "*Best Buy* Ponzi's entry-level red, this lacks any pretension and airs. But its youthful energy, a lively red cherry scent, a plush middle-palate and a Jory-soiled redness to the fruit flavors, not to mention a volcanic grip of tannins, make this a lot of wine for the dough." (2/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Who puts their lowest-priced Pinot Noir in 20% new French oak, and includes fruit from their best vineyards in the blend? Ponzi does, and the result is a terrific vintage for Tavola. Bright, compact, aromatic and lushly fruited with plum and black cherry, th ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buy* Fresh and inviting, open-textured and refined, with plum, currant and floral flavors that dance through the supple finish. Shows generosity and finesse, finishing on a roasted note. (Web-2016) (HS)" Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Nicely ripened and yet balanced to firmness with a solid streak of youthful, cherry-like fruit running its length, this well-made, mid-sized Pinot wine goes right to the varietal point. It is slightly juicy and comes with a careful trim of sweet oak, and, if not an especially potent wine, it has the fruity confidence and balance to hold u ...Read More »
If you're looking for a Pinot Noir that expresses the "Red Hills of Dundee" or know nothing about Dundee, but want a fresh, foward-drinking Pinot Noir, the Arterberry Maresh will be right up your alley. It's a fantastically red-fruited Pinot Noir, with dense Dundee flavors deftly interwoven with spice and earth notes. This is declassified Maresh fruit (planted in 1970), with some supporting fruit from the exemplary Juliard and Winderlea vineyards.
Elegant and Burgundian in style, organically and dry-farmed, Evesham Wood's wines are simply gorgeous examples of Oregon Pinot. From the winery: "Very forward with plum, dark cherry, red cherry with a slightly sweet smokiness reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow. It will be fun to watch this wine evolve over the next five years."
This is the same delicious Underwood Pinot Noir as the bottle, but in an easy-to-transport pop top can! No, it doesn't affect the taste--it's still packed with strawberry and pomegranate fruit, with the same supple texture, acidity and peppery spice and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl! From the winery's tasting notes: Cherries, raspberries, and chocolate."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This new sister label from Elk Cove offers 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at an everyday price. Fresh cranberry and raspberry fruit is framed by herb-tinged tannins. The immaculate craftsmanship and clean direct flavors are light years beyond budget Pinot Noir from most other regions. This is your perfect salmon wine. (PG)" (8/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pretty is the word that comes to mind upon sniffing and sipping this wine, with its beguiling strawberry and cherry fruit. It gathers strength in its core, while maintaining an elegant, well-structured acid/tannin frame. It's an outstanding value in Oregon Pinot from a top producer. (PG)" (4/2016)
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "This includes grapes from the winery’s Jerusalem Hill vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, in addition to the Dundee Hills sites, hence the more general Willamette Valley designation. It was aged in 65% new French oak for 16 months. It’s open and generous, offering bright berry, cherry and red currant fruit matched to defining acids, all set in a fine-tuned frame of new oak. Re-tasted 24 hours after being opened, it remained fresh, dense and satisfying." (8/2015) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve was picked from late summer after one of the driest on r ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rich and textural, this gloriously mixes raspberries, cherries, baking spices, cola, cocoa and coconut components, all woven together seamlessly. It’s forward and juicy, yet built for medium-term aging. Drink now through 2026." (8/2016) K&L Notes: According to the winery: "True to its growing season, our 2014 Dundee Hills is a medium-deep garnet color, with a dark core. On the nose, the wine is refined, with clear notes of spice, rose, black cherry, plum, and sweet red fruits, all wrapped in an earthiness that lends a surprising rustic touch. On the palate, the aroma... Read More »
About the producer: "Patricia Green Cellars is located in the Ribbon Ridge Appellation of the Willamette Valley on a 52 acre estate purchased in 2000 by Patty Green and Jim Anderson. The winery, and thus the two friends and business partners, are noted for producing a tremendously broad selection of vineyard designated Pinot Noirs from several vineyards representing some of the better sites in the Willamette Valley with a particular emphasis over the years on Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills and the Chehalem Mountain appellations."
Estate-grown Pinot Noir from Ridgecrest Vineyards (60%), Corral Creek Vineyards (31%), and Stoller Vineyards (9%). Aged 11 months in barrel, 8% new, 12% one-year-old, and 80% neutral. According to the winery: "2014 was one of those rare vintages when everyone is excited - writers and winemakers love the quality, grape growers had no handwringing to do, and yields pleased bankers, which also means customers will see reasonable prices! Wine quality is excellent, based on full ripeness... this vintage is deeply colored, seriously structures with perfect bal... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This opens with a full and succulent burst of fruit, notably cherries and plums. The rich and juicy flavors are highlighted with a streak of cola and buoyed with ample acids. This is just flat-out delicious." (4/2016)
It's a rare treat to find a solid, everyday Pinot Noir that over-delivers for under $30, let alone under $15—and from Oregon, at that. This wine is sourced from vineyards across Oregon, and is made to highlight the rich, juicy flavors of the state. Recent vintages have been reviewed favorably, if not in the 90+ point realm (you want the world for $11.99?), by Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and even Burghound. Fun fact: If you didn't see it here first, you might have seen Underwood at UK retailer Marks & Spencer, who feature it as their only U.S. Pinot No... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh and forward flavors mix rhubarb, ripe strawberries and sweet Bing cherries. This vibrant wine finishes with a refreshing snap of acidity, making it a pleasure to drink." (6/2016)
Domaine Serene's Yamhill Cuvée is named for the Yamhill-Carlton district where the estate is located, but the wine also includes some fruit from the nearby Dundee Hills and Eola-Amity Hills. The wine is aged in 40% new French oak for 14 months before bottling. This 2013 bottling has not yet been professionally reviewed, but this cuvee from the similarly celebrated 2012 vintage garnered between 91-93 points from each Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiasst, and James Suckling.
91 points Wine & Spirits: "It takes a day for this pinot to shed its oak robe and tarry spice, revealing a bright red core of fruit, like sun-warmed cherries. The texture feels light, lifted, the acids and tannins working together with an effortless harmony. A Wednesday-night pinot." (10/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "A light and polished red, with white pepper-accented raspberry and floral flavors persisting against fine tannins on the precise finish. Drink now through 2020. 3,000 cases made." (12/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Two Messengers was matured in 30% new oak. It has a fresh and vibrant bouquet with wild strawberr ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Ryan Harms is the owner and winemaker at Union Wines, whose motto is "drink with your pinkies down." Union makes killer Oregon wines at different price points (Kings Road represents the middle tier) that showcase the terroir while providing extreme value for your buck. From the winemaker: "Our flagship Pinot is hard to beat. A combination of rich red fruit flavors with freshness and vibrancy unique to Pinot Noir grapes grown in our beloved Willamette Valley, this wine truly reflects the character of this region. We think the best vintage is pretty much r... Read More »
About the producer: "In 2003, Andrea and James Frey founded Trisaetum (tris-say-tum) in one of the few places where climate, soil, and entrepreneurial spirit combine to produce some of the world's best Pinot Noir & Riesling. Today, the family owned and operated winery in the heart of Oregon's Ribbon Ridge AVA produces small lots of acclaimed Pinot Noir and Riesling from its three estate vineyards. Trisaetum's first commercially available vintage was 2007. Our Coast range estate is a 22-acre vineyard within the foothills of the Coast Range mountains ou... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Broad and open-textured, with firm tannins around a generous core of cherry and spice flavors, lingering well. Drink now through 2020. 3,811 cases made." (2/2016)
Wine Enthusiast: "A new effort from DDO, this drops Domaine Drouhin from the name, and puts the vineyard name front and center. It’s young and well-crafted, with strawberry and cherry fruit. The potential is evident for an impressive site once the vines get some age under them." (8/2016) K&L Notes: According to the winery "Roserock is an extraordinary vineyard at the southern tip of the Eola-Amity Hills, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Ancient volcanic soils, an ideal elevation range and the unique cooling effect of the Van Duzer corridor produce classic cool-climate Pinot Noir and Cha... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This self-described, entry-level blend boasts floral aromatics and spicy, peppery fruit flavors of cranberry, strawberry and raspberry. Ribbon Ridge Pinots show great character, especially when from estate-grown, biodynamically-certified grapes like this offering." (12/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Select was matured for 15 months in neutral oak barrels. It has an attractive blackberry and raspberry preserve-scented bouquet, floral tones developing soon after. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, attractive red cherry and raspberry ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Light and focused, with real transparency to the cherry and rooibos tea flavors, dancing deftly against polished tannins on the sleek finish." (2/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
Producer Note: "The color is a gorgeous light salmon. Watermelon, pear, jasmine, white flowers, lemon bar, and marzipan explode out of the glass, but never overwhelm. Is that brioche baking in the next room? Yes. Yes it is. The wine will be gone before you know it, before you’ve even had a chance to decide what it was, or what it meant to you. It remains a wine that demands contemplation, but frustratingly refuses to stay in your glass long enough for you to find all of the words. The second bottle will be just as good."
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light red. Intensely perfumed bouquet displays wild strawberry, raspberry, dried rose, minerals and cinnamon. Red berry flavors offer power without any impression of weight, picking up floral pastille and baking spice flavors with air. Suave finishing notes of red berries and candied cherry linger impressively. Delicious now, but my past experience with Thomas's wines tells me that this will easily repay a decade of cellaring. (JR)" (6/2008) K&L Notes: The Pinot Noirs of John Thomas are among the most difficult-to-find in Oregon. He first planted the vineyard himself... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Vinous: "Vivid red. Fresh raspberry and spicecake aromas show good energy as well as a touch of jamminess. Smooth and seamless on the palate, offering gently sweet red and dark berry flavors that tail off a bit on the back half. Finishes on a fruity note, with very soft tannins and a touch of white pepper. (JR)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a blend from highly regarded vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Black raspberry, anise, and spicy notes of nutmeg, cinnamon. Mid-palate burst of balanced acid and tannin with flavors of black ... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a solid, sharply defined, taut wine with a refined core of cherry fruit. The through-line is straight and true, finishing with a lick of citrus. Give this one a little more time to smooth itself out, and drink with pleasure after 2018." (1/2016) Wine Spectator: "Fresh and open-textured, with a prominent green tea note among the cherry and guava flavors, finishing against powdery tannins. Drink now through 2020. (Web-2015)"
The Jezebel is a fruit-forward, early-drinking Pinot Noir, with the balanced acidity and bright fruit flavors that you would expect from Oregon Pinot. It is a blend of wine from vineyards in the Willamette Valley and from the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. The fruit is cropped around two to three tons per acre and fermented in small lots with a variety of yeasts that are chosen to bring out the fullest expression of the fruit. Most of the wine is aged in neutral French oak but a small portion is produced in stainless tanks, to create a wine that is... Read More »
A classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, J. Christopher crafts their flaship Pinot Noir as a blend from the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, Yamhill-Carlton, and Eola-Amity Hills appellations. The 2013 release has not yet been professionally reviewed, but the 2012 garnered 91 points and an Editors' Choice designation from Wine Enthusiast and 90 points from Josh Raynolds at Vinous.
94 points Wine Spectator: "Distinctly minerally, with a saline quality to the ripe raspberry and cherry flavors, coming together harmoniously against powdery tannins on the long, vivid finish. Exciting, promising a great future. Best from 2017 through 2024." (6/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is the first time this recently purchased vineyard has been featured as an Elk Cove designate. Planted in 2007, it’s just coming into its own. The young fruit is tight and tangy-a mix of raspberry and black cherry. Forward, bright and lightly spicy, it’s nicely focused effort with some high acid snap to the finish. ...Read More »
Teutonic is making some of the finest German-inspired wines in the U.S. They work with cooler, higher-elevation sites to allow their grapes to hang on the vine longer and develop more physiological ripeness. In fact, Laurel Vineyard is located at one of the highest elevations in Oregon at 1250 feet. This is an elegant rosé that's low in alcohol (which means you can drink it by the gallon!), showing notes of dark plum, pink apples, and cassis.
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Heady red and dark fruit liqueur, candied rose, allspice and woodsmoke scents show excellent clarity and a complicating hint of licorice. Palate-staining blackberry and spicecake flavors open nicely in the middle palate, picking up floral pastille and cola nuances and a hint of black tea. Rich and broad but energetic too, finishing with powerful spicy thrust and velvety tannins." (6/2014) 93 points Vinous: "Bright ruby. Heady red and dark fruit liqueur, candied rose, allspice and woodsmoke scents show excellent clarity and a complicating hint of licorice. Palate ...Read More »
Though the 2013 vintage has yet to be professionally reviewed, the Wine Advocate praised the 2012 bottling: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Illahe Vineyard has a lifted bouquet with violet scents permeating the dark cherry and blackcurrant nose. The palate displays quite a lot of extraction, although the acidity keeps everything balanced, the finish quite glossy with a long cassis finish. Fine." (03/2015)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Clean, crisp and bright, this was fermented in stainless (with just 10% in neutral wood), and not put through malolactic. The blend is 60/40 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, yielding fresh fruit flavors of apple and melon that are focused and precise. A streak of ginger runs through racy acidity." (1/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* So lively and bright that it could very easily pass for a Blanc de Blancs on the nose and then following with a very steady and confident mix of mildly citrusy fruit and fresh yeast running its length, this spry, finely bubbled effort earns high marks f ...Read More »
According to the winery: "True to its growing season, our 2014 Dundee Hills is a medium-deep garnet color, with a dark core. On the nose, the wine is refined, with clear notes of spice, rose, black cherry, plum, and sweet red fruits, all wrapped in an earthiness that lends a surprising rustic touch. On the palate, the aromatics follow through with layered spice, white pepper, dark cherry and black berry, framed by youthful tannins. The finish is long and the texture has real depth."
Teutonic Pinot comes to us from a Riesling-crazed one-time restaurant wine buyer in Portland, Oregon, whose pursuit of Oregon terroir led him, naturally, to Pinot Noir as well as Mosel-inspired Rieslings. The lower alcohol levels and delicacy of the Teutonic style might remind one of Spätburgunder, come to think of it.
Winemaker Russell Raney was heavily influenced by Burgundian winemaking and trained with Henri Jayer of Vosne-Romanée before moving to Willamette Valley. His wines are elegant and restrained; deeply expressive and sophisticated. From the winery: "Mahonia Vineyard and Evesham Wood share a long history together. This summer, we were lucky enough to gather several vintages (going back to the 90s) of Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Mahonia Vineyard and taste through them. It was remarkable how the wines were so distinct and expressed the growing season, yet also all... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "The aromas are ripe and rich, offering plum, currant and roasted potato notes as the flavors come together and finish with precision against firm tannins. Best from 2017 through 2022. (HS)" (2/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "A vinous Pinot Noir, this is quiet and mildly tense, its scents of dried cherries carried on a sleek texture. It needs some cellar time and then something delicate to match, like arctic char." (8/2014) Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Spice-accented red berry and floral pastille aromas show good clarity and a touch of succulent herbs. Silky and sweet on the palate, offering j ...Read More »
From the winery: "Green peppercorn and savory herbs are apparent immediately on the nose. The fruit here is perfectly balanced by the stems and structure. The sweet toasted oak really polishes the edges of the wine making it glide across the palate. This wine strikes a perfect balance with red grapefruit and orange zest aromatics supporting the generous cherry and red currant flavors. Drinking perfect and ready to satisfy."
From the producer: "Again, a six barrel selection from Le Puits Sec, always looking for depth, complexity and structure. Selected for long-term aging (depending on the vintage) it’s often tight as nails, however, the 2013 is surprisingly approachable. Red and black cherry, violet, plum, dried herbs de provence and with a finish that goes on and on. 149 cases produced."
Barnaby and Olga Tuttle's Portland-based Teutonic Wine Company, is, need we say, an idiosyncratic outfit focused on German and Alsatian wine styles. And obsessively focused on terroir--they now collect grapes before harvest from each vineyard in order to start a native yeast culture for each fermentation.
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star and a Good Value* Nicely ripened and showing a mix of cherries and sweet plums on the nose that is reiterated in its young and insistently fruity flavors, this well-balanced middleweight impresses with its polish and clarity. It is not a wine of dramatic richness, but it hits all of the right varietal marks, and it has the quiet potency of a Pinot that will improve for several years." (2/2016) Vinous: "Light, bright red. Spice-laced aromas of fresh strawberry and redcurrant, with a hint of white pepper emerging with air. Taut, linear and nervy on the pala ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Open-textured and finely wrought, this expressive red offers generous plum and currant fruit, shaded with hints of wet earth and spice as the finish lingers against fine tannins. Drink now through 2021." (2/2016) Vinous: "Vivid red. Fresh red berries and peppery spices on the nose, with a hint of rhubarb in the background. Taut, focused flavors of bitter cherry and redcurrant open slowly with air. Shows good energy and a slightly edgy quality on the youthfully tannic finish, with the redcurrant and spice notes echoing. (JR)" (9/2015)
92 points Vinous: "Bright red. Tightly wound red berry and Asian spice aromas pick up a suave floral nuance with air. Silky and precise, offering energetic raspberry and bitter cherry flavors with a touch of star anise. A suave, seamless Pinot with no excess weight. Closes tangy and very long, with silky tannins and lingering spiciness. (JR)" (10/2015) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Scents of cinnamon and red-pepper candy come up quickly, leading into a wine with terrific purity and focus. The raspberry and cherry fruits are clean and sharp, beautifully defined and balanced. Delicious ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A standout among the winery’s single-vineyard selections, this big-boned effort brings flavors of chewy cherry alongside a citrus highlight and a definite underpinning of wet stone and clay. Texturally compelling, it should age gracefully through 2024." (8/2016) K&L Notes: Producer Note for the 2013 vintage: "A bright ruby gem, notes of Italian plums, violet and black pepper on the nose leads to a palate bursting with cassis, raspberry, black currant and carmelized marmalade. Finishes rich and savory with woodsy tones of cedar."
93 points Wine Spectator: "Fresh and expressive, soft in texture, this offers generous flavors of cherry, raspberry and clove that linger effortlessly against velvety tannins. Drink now through 2023. (HS)" (12/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Les Dijonnais is the second bottling that was picked on September 19 and 20 then matured in 35% new oak. It has a perfumed, floral bouquet with raspberry coulis, wild strawberry and fig-like aromas that are beautifully defined and surprisingly intense considering the vintage. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe red cherry, strawberry and vanilla not ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "Deep red. Hugely aromatic bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, incense and Asian spices, along with a bright mineral overtone. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering sweet raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out with air. Delivers a suave blend of power and elegance, finishing with harmonious tannins and remarkable clarity and length. As more and more Pinot Noir producers, including those in California, adjust their winemaking style to a market that's asking for low-octane, graceful wines, Cristom's Steve Doerner, ...Read More »