Oregon has made a name for itself with Pinot Noir. These high-quality wines invite comparison to Burgundy rather often, since Oregon’s cool climate is perfect for fussy Pinot Noir. These versatile wines range from light and fruity to serious and ageworthy. Rosé of Pinot Noir and fascinating white Pinot Noirs are represented here as well.
While pricey versions abound, we selected 10 beautiful and fun wines that can all be found for less than $30.
Sun Break 2018 Marie-Paule Cortell-Rose Vineyard Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills); $29, 93 points. This cuvée was half fermented with whole clusters. It’s a precise, focused wine—the blackberry and black cherry fruit has a gentle squirt of lemony acidity. It’s lively and clean, with no sulfites added, and a lovely showcase for this outstanding vineyard. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt
Bryn Mawr Vineyards 2018 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $28, 91 points. Most Bryn Mawr wines are estate grown. This is the exception, but shows the same careful hand at the winemaking tiller. It’s firm, well structured and deftly mixes savory, earthy flavors with tart berry fruit. It was barrel aged and a slender vein of caramel suggests that there was at least a small percentage of new oak. —P.G.
Haden Fig 2018 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $26, 91 points. This is the most widely available Pinot from Haden Fig, sister winery to Evesham Wood. Scents of beetroot and wild cherry introduce a wine with varietal purity married to an earthy terroir. Presumably a blend from unused barrels for the single-vineyard cuvées, this is a solid, somewhat stiff young wine, with substantial tannins and a finishing hint of coffee. Drink now through 2026. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Ponzi 2018 Tavola Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains); $27, 91 points. This widely available bottling is sourced from vineyards scattered across the Willamette Valley. Aromatic and bright, the sassy raspberry fruit dominates nose and palate, with drying tannins echoing through the finish. It was aged in 20% new French oak for just under a year. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Stuart & Co. 2018 Love, Oregon Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $28, 91 points. This smooth and open young wine mixes a lush mash-up of purple fruits, notably plums and blueberries, with a gentle hint of tanned leather. The tannins are soft and smooth, making this a great candidate for drinking over the next two or three years. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
Trathen Hall 2018 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $28, 91 points. Made from the Pommard clone, this brings a mix of cranberry, raspberry, plum and cherry fruit flavors, set upon a spine of stem tannins. Some 40% of the ferment was whole cluster, and all the oak used was neutral. The sturdy finish suggests midterm ageability. The fruit mix is excellent, the balance spot-on, and the value speaks for itself. —P.G.
Averaen 2019 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $20, 90 points. This is a forward, tasty, fruit-driven style, loaded with fresh strawberries and raspberries. It opens broadly across the palate, lightly dappled with suggestions of popcorn and grain. Not for the cellar, but definitely for the table, it should be at its drinking best during the next three or four years. —P.G.
Samuel Robert 2019 Family Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $19, 90 points. Year in and year out this winery overdelivers at budget-friendly prices. This is a credentialed Pinot Noir with real power. There’s black cherry fruit at the center, and just-ripe tannins that leave a hint of tea. You may pick up a smoky scent that carries into the finish, and it should be remembered that there was smoke in some vineyards during this vintage. But barrels are smoky also, and all the components of this wine work synergistically. Drink now and over the next two or three years. —P.G.
Westmount 2019 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $25, 90 points. With the sure hand of veteran Laurent Montalieu helming this value brand, the overall quality and balance is excellent. This textured and detailed wine has an interesting fruit-herb mix of wild red berries, lemon verbena, some bitter herbs and good, grippy tannins. Another year in the bottle should help to smooth any remaining rough edges. —P.G.
Winter’s Hill 2018 Watershed Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills); $25, 90 points. Estate-grown Dundee Hills Pinots are rare at this price. This palate-pleaser brings red berries, light fresh herbs and a hint of minerals into the mix. Partial whole cluster fermentation adds texture and length. —P.G.