AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Noble Pig Vineyards Photos

Noble Pig Vineyards Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Yamhill-Carlton Region, Oregon

Reviewed: November 29, 2015 by Rob Boss
Published: April 13, 2016

(Photos by Jai Soots)

Noble Pig resides in a comfortable, unpretentious but elegant, dark wood room on Main Street, Carlton, Oregon, surrounded by another dozen and a half pretty good tasting rooms. Other than the sidewalk sign, the place stands out by not standing out. Understated confidence seems to prevail throughout both the room and the wine and carries on to the employees. That’s not to say they ever miss a marketing beat, however. The brand logo of a black pig and gold crown is available on tee shirts, hoodies and even mugs, strategically placed around the meticulously neat and orderly room. Winemaker Cathy Pollak also writes a popular food blog, so there’s an enthusiastic and particularly knowledgeable focus on food and wine pairing that’s not seen at other wineries. That’s a welcome base of knowledge for any wine lover.

Our tasting room attendant welcomed us pleasantly and set up a glass, enthusiastically assured of the product. As usual, the tasting began with whites, starting with a 2010 Pinot Blanc that showed a brulée note, with ripe apples and pears. Even though younger, the 2011 Pinot Blanc was very similar, but slightly higher acidity made it more tart. I was fairly certain this would settle down to the same, pleasant, summery wine that was the 2010. Next, the 2010 Pinot Gris showed a touch of lime, followed by pears, pears and more pears—from Anjou to Starkrimson (I couldn’t think of a “z” pear and the “s” is my favorite). This sort of subtle complexity is something I always find interesting and enjoyable. On the whole, the whites are good backyard fooders for laid back summer barbecues. Again, food pairing is very much a focus at Noble Pig.

From here, we moved on to the reds, and Noble Pig’s 2010 Pinot Noir showed some nice cherry pie flavors. However, I thought it was flawed. An unfortunate hint of nail polish (ethyl acetate) knocked it off the horse. The 2013 Pinot Noir had a lot more going for it. There was a rich, crushed fruit nose and intense raspberry, strawberry and cherry flavors following close behind. McMinnville’s trademark, dark and chewy structure was there, marking an age-worthy wine.

At the end, now, I will strike the brass tacks: As always in the world of wine, there is always the matter of the reviewer’s personal taste. That said, Noble Pig’s wine was perhaps not to mine. However, I still feel strongly that many other people will enjoy it, and probably a lot. This is where that understated confidence comes into play as far as the tasting room experience goes: our tasting room attendant knew I wasn’t connecting with the wine but never tried to hawk it, instead letting me catalog the experience in my head and my notes. He knew, rightly, that Noble Pig’s products have places in other people’s hearts, and if I wasn’t compelled to buy one of those wines, many other people would be—and had. On that, I can recommend them highly. Maybe you’ll love them, maybe you won’t, but you definitely need to try Noble Pig. You’ll be glad you did, and many tasters will become new fans.

Address & Contact Information: 203 Main Street Carlton, Oregon 97111. Telephone: 503-852-3038, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Wed-Sun 12:00-5:00.

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