AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Bergstrom Winery Photos

Bergstrom Winery Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Chehalem Mountains AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: June 25, 2015 by Rob Boss
Published: July 31, 2015

(Photos by Jai Soots)

A quick glance around Bergström’s tasting room is, well, deceptive. The abundant greenery outside yields to dark wood and earth tones inside, and the colors make the tasting room seem smaller than it is. At least that’s how it felt by the door where I planted myself for the tasting, but I was directly opposite the intimate private tasting area, which looked like it would seat eight to ten with ease. Move around the counter and there’s plenty of room for at least a dozen tasters to approach for refills, then step back to the windows for the view. And it’s quite a view, but best enjoyed on the deck, surrounded by trellises dripping with flowers. The vineyards surrounding Bergström’s curvaceous barn are (risking cliché) idyllic, and the building is its own visual treat.

Rebecca was our tasting room maven for our visit, starting us with the 2014 Rose of Pinot Noir. Where many wineries produce sagnier style rosé (French for “to bleed”—the wine is siphoned from other fermenters after a short time of skin contact), Bergström produces it specifically. Strawberries and pink grapefruits were in abundance. There are only 265 cases of this delicious gem, and this will be the last run.

Up next was the 2013 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir. I’d gotten a barrel taste from one of the vineyard blocks when I attended the Ten Shades of Shea event. It was a wild child then, with a big, fruity nose and a very shy, plain fruit palate. But it’s grown up pretty, with a beautiful spice and briar nose. There was a slightly winking acidity (which is typical of Shea), with dark flavors. Black cherry, plums, prunes, and a long, lovely, spicy finish. Bergström is the largest client of Shea Vineyards (there are 21 others), one of the most respected operations in the world of Pinot Noir.

Younger vines are usually less complex than their older siblings, but that doesn’t mean bad wine. The Gregory Ranch Vineyard was planted in 2007 in Yamhill-Carlton, and was certainly true to its viticultural area. The 2013 vintage showed crushed fruit with a gunpowder note that I really liked (not sulphur or match) on the nose. There was a take-charge structure with black and blue fruit flavors—both typical of Yamhill-Carlton. The tannins yielded to plum skin and cooked fruit flavors at the finish. “Silice” is French for “silica,” which is a significant part of the soil in the next vineyard, from the Chehalem Mountains. The 2013 Bergström Silice offered the bright Chehalem cherry note that distinguishes the area. Cherry pie flavors and baking spices finished it off.

On to the wine club selections, starting with another 2013 from Croft Vineyard. The site is just south of Eola-Amity AVA, but not quite in it. (Hard to say if that would be noticeable in a blind tasting—that would be interesting to try out.) The nose of cherry pie and smoke yielded to reeeeally ripe cherry flavors, “like the best cherry pie you’ve ever had.” Indeed, it might be.

The tasting ended with a spectacular crescendo: Where the Pinot Noirs had all been poured in a traditional Burgundy glass (my personal, though perhaps heretical preference), the 2013 Sigrid Chardonnay was presented in a Reidel Vinum Extreme Chardonnay glass—with Sigrid’s name on it. (Sigrid was Josh Bergström’s grandmother, who would have been 100 years old when we tasted her namesake.) On the nose, a touch of butter—not overpowering—with apples, pears, and, surprisingly, pineapple. After that was a mouthful of pineapple, kiwi and ripe pears. There was an exquisite, long finish with mineral flavors at the end. Rebecca pointed out it was made in “Montrachet style,” and I suppose it was. There’s weight to this wine—although gravitas might be a better word. It’s certainly a powerful tribute.

It’s also an astonishing last impression of an already good tasting flight. Josh Bergström has a large, avid following and he’s earned it over the years. These are some of the more spendy wines in the valley and won’t be everyone’s preference for that reason—but that’s sort of the point. Above all, it's about respect. Bergström wines respect, and show, a sense of place like the very best wines in the world do, and for that they deserve your time. Looking out over their fabulous vineyards and the cool winery building with a glass of any of these is a tremendous experience.

Address & Contact Information: 18215 NE Calkins Lane Newberg, Oregon 97132. Telephone: 503-554-0468, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 10:00-4:00.

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