Four Unique Oregon red wines, perfect for winter drinking
These four ‘red’ wines represent the diversity, unique production scale & quality Oregon has to offer
Last month, Oregon Wine Board hosted a trade tasting at the American Embassy in London. The room was filled with over 40 wine growers, makers and suppliers– sharing their passion, pinot and more with journalists, restaurateurs, trade members and UK retailers.
While so many wonderful Oregon Wine representatives were in the room, we listened closely for their recommendations. Each recommendation represents the passion these individuals have for the Oregon Wine industry – From relative newcomer 99W Wine’s Jonathan Brassington to Master of Wine, Mark Savage’s own connection to the beginnings of Oregon’s first Pinot Noir vines.
The four red wines highlighted below represent the diversity and quality Oregon’s wine industry has to offer…along with a surprise entry that sounds perfect for festivities as the nights draw in. Read more to learn a little about each of the wine labels, merchants and suppliers we spoke with.
Colene Clemens Victoria Pinot Noir 2013
£58, The Good Wine Shop
Producing around 650 cases of Victoria Pinot Noir each year, National Sales Manager, Dyana Thomas says “Colene Clemons [is] 100% estate grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Everything is dry farmed, we practice sustainable, we are a low yield [estate]. Essentially all of the wine, all of the pinots are made the same. The difference in the coupe is where we source from on the property.”
The Victoria Pinot Noir is a curated blend of Pinot Noir grapes from various blocks. The result? “In certain vintages, you can sort of see more of that dark, robust pinot that we expect from marine sedimentary soils, and other vintages, you can see those lighter, prettier notes that you tend to see out of volcanic soils,” says Thomas. It’s all down to the block selected for the harvest that year.
R Stuart NV Klipsun Cabernet Sauvignon "Tawny"
£38.14, 99W Wines
Jonathan Brassington, Founder of 99W Wines enthusiastically pointed to this dessert wine as something to try… and winter is the perfect time for a glass of fireside Tawny.
“This bottle represents my feeling ‘I need this in my life’ when it comes to Oregon Wine. This is a lovely little dessert red, which is just a knockout. They call it a ‘Tawny’ it's more kind of LBV-ness with a lot more wine grape to it. So it's not the kind of sticky Port you’d expect. It's very light and very fresh. It’s packed with sweet fruit. It's demonstrating, just the breadth of what what Oregon can bring.”
GC Wines Willamette Valley Gamay
£24.87, 99W Wines
While Johnathan Brassington was sharing his love of Oregon Wine, he also recommended this Gamay. “John Grochau's GC wines Gamay is quite possibly the nicest way you'll ever have in your life. I think it's certainly one of the nicest labels.” He describes it as an exceptionally drinkable wine – one we’ll certainly be having at table this winter.
The Eyrie Vineyards, Pinot Noir 2017
Mark Savage (MW) has a deep connection with the Lett family of Eyrie Vineyards going back to the 1970s. David Lett planted Oregon's first commercial pinot noir vines in 1966. The legacy of the delicate Eyrie Pinot Noir continues with his son, Jason Lett.
Savage shared the beginnings of his involvement with Oregon Wine and Eyrie Vineyards: “Oregon has become really part of my soul. [The] first time I plucked up the courage to go there in 1980… I [was] actually in California at the time, because we were working there. I rang David [Lett] and nervously asked if I could move up the following day. And he probably thought, ‘All I need is some itinerant English man coming to waste my time’. We got on very well and, and it's been one of the many long relationships I've had with wine growers in the world over the last 50 years.”