Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene August 21-27

IMG_9783As I’ve said many times before, “I love Pinot Noir.” More specifically, I love Oregon Pinot Noir.  Its diverse terroir driven characteristics and fresh, pure berry and earthy deliciousness; combined with, unmatched complexity, depth and elegance, enable each wine and vintage to be individually exciting, exclusive and unique.

Very often (as often as once a day) I’m asked, “What is your favorite Oregon Pinot Noir?” One of the toughest questions I continuously receive, I’m not ever able to answer with one specific Pinot Noir.  As previously mentioned, each and every vintage is different, and from year to year I enjoy countless amounts that simply can’t be answered with, “Blankity Blank is my favorite Pinot Noir.”

In an effort to offer Pinot Noir enthusiasts an insight to some of the Oregon Pinot Noirs I most enjoy, I’ve decided to focus on a specific vintage that has particularly caught the attention of my Pinot-loving taste buds: 2010.  Having freshly attended the world-famous 27th Annual Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) and the inaugural Chehalem Mountain Winegrowers Origin ’13 event, I’ve been blessed with some wonderful opportunities to sample some of Oregon’s finest and most stellar 2010 vintage Pinot Noirs.

Although each contains their own unique characteristics (based on their AVAs and winemakers styles), I’ve found that all 2010 Willamette Valley Pinots (regardless of their specific AVAs) are lush, juicy, round, silky, balanced and full of finesse.  Listed are just a few of the 2010 Pinot Noirs that I have completely fallen head over heels for.

IMG_9945R. Stuart & Co. 2010 Daffodil Hill Pinot Noir: The evening that I opened the Daffodil Hill Pinot I posted on Twitter, “After revealing what was under the glass closure of the R. Stuart ’10 Daffodil Hill, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Wow.”  Lush, juicy raspberries and cherries were highlighted by cloves and hints of earth while solidi acidity rounds out everything to perfection.  A beautiful, palate pleasing, lingering finish immediately beckons another sip.  It’s truly an outstanding Pinot Noir that is certainly a favorite of mine.

Quailhurst 2010 Pinot Noir: With pure Jory soils and a focus on Dijon clone Pinot Noir, their terroir driven estate wine is just as stunning as the property that boasts a revered Japanese garden, infinite spectacular varieties of roses and an unmatched panoramic view of the Cascade Range.  In addition to being treated with a sample of the divine 2005 Pinot Noir, the luscious 2010  complex, yet full of elegance and finesse.  Bright, juicy red fruits take over the senses in both aromas and flavors. Soft and round, classic hints of mushroom and earth linger on the finish that has lively, vibrant acidity.  I’ll be returning to Quailhurst in the near future to purchase more of this lovely Pinot.

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2010 Elton Pinot Noir: During my recent whirlwind weekend at the world-famous IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration), I was one of the lucky wine enthusiasts that had a tour and lunch at the beautiful Elton Vineyards – where fruit is often sourced for Willamette Valley Vineyard wines.  Alongside the vineyard, a dense, lush forest has been delicately landscaped into a garden that is the epitome of paradise.  With our lunch, we sampled the 2010 Elton Pinot Noir that was, well, the epitome of stellar Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  Dark fruits and black cherries throughout, a smooth and lush entrance has mid-palate earthiness highlighted by fall spices and zippy acidity that lengthens the finish to perfection.

photo (8)Twelve 2010 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir: On the last day of IPNC, I headed to downtown McMinnville, where I first sampled 57 (seriously) Oregon Rieslings, later highlighting my favorites in my article on 57 Oregon Rieslings.  After the Riesling tasting, I headed to the Twelve Wines tasting room, where I tried a line-up of stellar Pinot Noirs, my favorite being the 2010 Pommard Clone.  Every component of this wine was balanced to perfection and the flavors and aromas were rich, lush and downright delicious. Berries galore were nuanced by earth and licorice, and the acidity was outstanding.

The Eyrie Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir: I love how this wine evolved and brought on new characteristics after as time went by after popping the cork.  Every twenty to thirty minutes, it opened up in aromas, flavors and characteristics.  Early on, aromas were earthy, mushroomy and funky – an awesome kind of funky that is often found in Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, a quality I love.  The texture was luscious and opulent while the flavors were complex and round.  Thirty minutes later, it displayed opulent blackberry and dark fruit notes.  Even later, the earthiness had come back to complement the fruits with perfection.  I absolutely loved every sip and enjoyed the forthcoming diverse characteristics.

To discover many other 2010 vintage Pinot Noirs that have recently captured my heart, like Sokol Blosser’s Big Tree Block Pinot Noir and Adelsheim’s Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir, follow me over to my award-winning website,



Julia has been in the wine industry for nearly 20 years. First through creating European wine tours, then opening her own wine bar, Julia loves writing about food & wine on her website,

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