Top 10 Oregon Wine Values of 2013



In the enormously grand world of wine, there comes a point where “bigger-better-faster” is no longer relevant: at the top, things are just different but not necessarily better, because most of the time it’s all great. Value is another matter and that’s the nature of this list. These wines represent a great bang for the buck. Some are expensive, some are not, but with one exception, all are undervalued compared to their competitors. However, as is the case in this enormously grand world of wine, one man’s plonk is another man’s raison d’etre.

David Hill Vineyards Farmhouse Red $12
Having consumed gallons of this quaffable table wine over the years, I heartily recommend it as a straightforward pleasure. It’s a nonvintage blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Counoise, chock full of friendly berry flavors that go back easily on the porch or in front of the fire. At $12, it’s also a great “second bottle.”
Additional Information:
- Available at David Hill's website and wine-searcher
- David Hill Tasting Room Review


2012 Walter Scott Wines La Combe Verte Pinot Noir $23
This is a burly one that’s maybe not for everyone, but it’s different enough from the rest to be included—and a good bridge into Oregon for California wine drinkers. Dark and provocative like a goth girl’s sense of humor, with black and red plum flavors that seem to dance between tart and young, and stewed. Stewed young…? You’ll have plenty of time to contemplate that while you relish the arrestingly loooooong finish. This is a wine that insists that we move at its pace and pay attention. An intriguing wine at a thoughtful $23.
Additional Information:
- Available at Walter Scott's website and wine-searcher


2011 Lange Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $24
This is a longtime favorite in the Willamette Valley and still a bargain at $24. The nose is gorgeous: raspberries, strawberries, briars and brambles, and gunpowder. It’s light, lush and elegant, full of fruit flavors and a mineral note. The other Lange wines are terrific and worth the money, but this one is the bargain.
Additional Information:
- Available at Lane Estate's website and wine-searcher


2011 Cristom Vineyards Mt. Jefferson Cuvée $30
Ever wonder what the winemakers drink? Cristom makes their list of great Oregon wines, time and again. The Mt. Jefferson is a mouthful of vibrant strawberry and cherry flavors that get silkier with age. $30 might seem too steep to open for just anyone, so wait till you have just the right friends to share it with. Cristom wines age beautifully.
Additional Information:
- Available at Cristom's website and wine-searcher


2009 Grochau Cellars Matador $30
…because you can’t drink Pinot Noir all the time. This is a “Spanish” blend of Tempranillo and Grenache from the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon. The black fruit flavors on the palate—plums, berries and figs—come as expected. The meat on the nose does not—great stuff. There’s a steak out there that’s calling for this.
Additional Information:
- Available at Grochau's website and wine-searcher


Boedecker Cellars 2010 Stewart and 2010 Athena Pinot Noir $34
Team Boedecker is made up of Stewart Boedecker and his wife Athena Pappas. Like most couples, their tastes differ and rather than make a lackluster, compromise cuvée, each made their own, highly respectable one. Stewart likes bright acidity and tart, young, red fruit flavors. Athena prefers a more muscular style with structure, spice and black fruit. Different as night and day but equally good—to the point that sales of each are virtually identical. $34 buys wines that have scored consistent 90+ Spectator and Advocate ratings--and aced many at twice the price in blind tastings. (Disclosure: I helped sort the fruit, among other things at this winery.)
Additional Information:
- Available at Boedecker's website and wine-searcher
- Soup Night at Boedecker Cellars


2011 Domain Drouhin Dundee Hills Pinot Noir $40
Old world style in the New World; Veronique Drouhin is “guardian of the family style,” keeping up 125 years of winemaking tradition. Vintage after vintage, she showcases Dundee Hills terroir with its tart red fruit flavors and spicy nose. No, it’s not a bargain: it’s the benchmark for its $40 price tag.
Additional Information:
- Available at Domain Drouhin's website and wine-searcher
- Domaine Drouhin Tasting Room Review


2010 De Ponte Cellars Dundee Hills Pinot Noir $44
Five months after its first American Winery Guide review, this wine is starting to show its stuff. It’s still shy but the cherry flavors are opening up. Further, open the bottle and have a glass of something else while it opens up some more. After a half an hour, cherries, raspberries and strawberries will run rampant through your mouth. There’s a wonderfully brambly, briary note that goes with the crushed fruit in the nose. It should be showing well this Christmas, but one more year in the bottle will make it a force to be reckoned with. Globally.
Additional Information:
- Available at De Ponte's website and wine-searcher
- De Ponte Tasting Room Review


2009 Anne Amie Vineyards Prismé Pinot Noir Blanc $45
The short story is, it takes a lot to surprise me anymore and this wine was astonishing. Red wine’s color comes from the skins and blanc de noir is certainly not a new concept, but few white wines achieve this level of complexity. Buttered toast, crème brullé, ginger and melon erupt on the palate, and my notes on the nose look like a spice cabinet. For $45 you get one of the honestly unique wines in the Willamette Valley. This should age like a classic white Burgundy, with all its rewards.
Additional Information:
- Available at Anne Amie's website and wine-searcher
- Anne Amie Tasting Room Review


2011 Adelsheim Vineyards Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir $57
Year after year, an epitome of elegance. Beguiling raspberry, strawberry and cherry aromas with cherry pie spice. All this leads to silky texture, cherry flavors and a rapturously long finish. $57 will impress your friends now. Give it 3-5 more years in the bottle for something worth a C-note.
Additional Information:
- Adelsheim Tasting Room Review



Published: Oct. 22, 2013

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