One place I always look for great domestic Pinot Noir is Oregon. I think dollar for dollar, these wines are amongst the best anywhere in the world, and so many times they over deliver compared to their modest price tags.
When in Oregon, I usually try to look up Anne Sery of Benoni, Hyland Estates, Solena, and Trousse Chemise fame. Anne grew up helping her grandmother make wine off their incredible family vineyard in Cotes de Nuits. It was at an early age that she fell in love with the grape, graduating from the University of Bordeaux for enology and immediately seeking out the Pacific Northwest.
In the last decade, she’s been on a tear in the Willamette Valley, consistently producing some of the best wines for the price, making Pinot Noir that’s both vibrant and wonderfully balanced, with structure and ageability in all of her work.
In what is being heralded as a near perfect 2019 vintage in Oregon, an opportunity became available for Anne to purchase some fruit from a powerhouse winery in Hood River, Oregon. The spot, perfectly situated along the Columbia River Gorge to the Northeast of the Willamette Valley, where an abundance of sun and a constant breeze from the Columbia River make it the perfect place to grow rich, opulent Pinot Noir.
It’s said that the Willamette Valley is the American answer to Burgundy. But this isn’t the Willamette Valley, nor is this a Burgundian style. Here, with less rainfall, more sun exposure and that unique River Gorge climate, the warmer vintages are akin to some of the great wines from the Russian River Valley.
Her 2019 Benoni Pinot is an opulent, stunning Pinot Noir with a higher pH and a deeper, richer complexion than most of its Willamette neighbors. And while it could easily be mistaken for RRV, those wines are rarely found for under $50/btl. But today, it’s somehow available under $20 on case orders, a feat only Anne Sery could pull off.
A gorgeous garnett, ruby hue with aromas oozing from the bottle of high-toned red berry fruit, cherry licorice and a hint of bramble. This is super fresh with a tremendous depth backed by finely grained tannins, bright acidity and amazing purity of fruit on the palate. This is a great summertime Pinot with tremendous intensity and length. A great pair for just about any food pairing but in the summertime, why not some kebabs, turkey burgers, or lamb, a summer salad or best yet, in a chilled glass by the pool or the beach. Don’t miss this one.