For wine geeky types there isn’t much better than a Saturday night with friends and a few good wines.
I’ve been doing the wine writing thing for 10 years now and I do get wines from marketers. Earlier this year I got a bunch of Oregon wine from a marketer representing several small-production Oregon wineries. Seemed like a fun idea to line up a wine from each of three wineries and get the “Wine Dudes” opinions. And boy, did they have opinions.
All three wines were from the much-praised 2014 vintage. Youngberg Hill‘s Natasha Block, Ghost Hill’s Prospector’s Reserve, and Alloro‘s Estate Riservata were the three Pinot Noirs. We tasted the wines in that order and then went back down the line re-tasting to form our opinions.
A short summary of some thoughts. The Youngberg wine got better the longer it was open. The guys were hoping for a little more structure than we found later as the wine opened up. It’s from the McMinnville AVA and retails at $50. We all thought it probably needed another year or two and possibly a long decant.
The Ghost Hill and Alloro were our two favorites of this exercise, even though we liked all three wines. We went back and forth for a couple of hours about these two wines. Ghost Hill takes its grapes from the Yamhill-Carlton area and is truly small production wine with just 141 cases made of this juice.
The guys loved the balance of fruit and finish in the Ghost Hill. The wine had the depth of character that makes you think about the Pinot in your glass. One of the guys questioned the $55 price point but I found it consistent with other wines in that price range.
Alloro’s Estate wine from the Chehalem Mountains was the most drinkable of the three – even though it did have a slight advantage with a good decant. Bright red fruit and a refreshing lightness made for satisfying sips. Alloro makes just 300 cases of this wine for $45 a bottle. Interesting to note that Wine Enthusiast gave this wine an incredibly strong 95 points. We agreed it was a 90-point wine but maybe not quite a 95.
These small production wines will not be easy to find outside Oregon, quite frankly. Small operations like this though should be on your visitation list if you go to Oregon. You can contact the wineries, linked up here, to see if they can ship the wines.
We had such fun doing this comparative tasting, I’m sure there will be more.