Quality and diversity of Oregon wines on display in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Top 100 lists

Five Oregon wines in the top 40, and a first for Oregon Pinot gris are among the accolades given to Oregon winemakers from reviewers 

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Oregon wines were well represented this past week on two important global lists: Wine Spectator’s Top 100 and the Enthusiast 100 Best Wines of 2021. Each list highlighted wines from across the state, including from Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley, and the Willamette Valley, as among the best in the world. 

Wine Spectator’s Top 100 are selected “based on quality, value, availability and excitement” and “honours successful wineries, regions and vintages around the world.” Two Oregon-made wines landed in the top 20 on the list: Alexana Vineyard and Winery topped the Oregon selections at #14 with the 2018 Revana Vineyard Pinot Noir (94 points) and Walla Walla Valley producer Cayuse with the 2018 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, coming in at 96 points and #19 on the global list. 

Other notable Oregon wines featured include Arterberry Maresh Old Vine Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills, 93 points, #22), Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Chardonnay (Eola-Amity Hills, 93 points, #27), Zena Crown Vineyard Slope Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills, 95 points, #34), and Chehalem INOX Chardonnay (Willamette Valley, 91 points, #58). 

“I’m extremely humbled that our Pinot noir was selected this year. It’s been such an awesome morning today with all of my colleagues, friends, and family reaching out to congratulate us,” said Head Winemaker Bryan Weil. “I’ve been working at Alexana for over a decade now and love working with our teams in the vineyard and winery, and the credit should go to them. They work unbelievably hard and I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing team.” Oregon wines were overrepresented on the prestigious global list, garnering six spots, no small feat considering that Oregon represents less than 1% of global wine production. 

Over 22,000 wines were reviewed throughout 2021 to arrive on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 selections released this week. Featured among bottlings from around the world including from Burgundy and Bordeaux, Barolo and Rioja, five Oregon wines held their own. 

Tasters “reviewed hundreds of wines from regional stalwarts and winemaking legends, with many standouts worth finding.” Four of the five Oregon wines selected hail from the state’s Willamette Valley, with the remaining wine representing the Applegate Valley. 

An Oregon wine snagged the #4 spot with The Eyrie Vineyards’ 2019 Estate Pinot gris, rated 93 points (pictured in photo, below).  

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The second highest-scoring American wine on the list, 2021 marks the first time an Oregon Pinot gris has landed in the top five wines on the Enthusiast 100. 

According to the organisers, a rating of 98-100 is deemed a “Classic,” 94-97 is “Superb,” and a wine rated 90-93 is “Excellent.” As well as The Eyrie, Oregon producers collected multiple 90+ scores in addition to their placement among the top 100 wines of the year with: 

#16 Ridgecrest’s 2020 Estate Dry Riesling (Ribbon Ridge, 95 points) 

#26 REX HILL Vineyards’ 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, 96 points) 

#48 Walter Scott’s 2019 X-Novo Vineyard Chardonnay (Eola-Amity Hills, 96 points) 

#67 Quady North’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Applegate Valley, 93 points) 

“With Oregon wines claiming 5% and 6% of The Enthusiast 100 and the Wine Spectator Top 100 respectively, I’m continually proud to see Oregon wines shine,” said Tom Danowski, Oregon Wine Board president. “These are the year’s best wines in the world deemed by top wine editors, and with grapes sourced from AVAs all over the state representing our varietal diversity, these five wines comprise an excellent representation of Oregon’s exceptional, complex wines.”