Saturday, December 27, 2008

'07 Erath and '07 Argyle Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley - Oregon

This past holiday season featured both the '07 Erath and '07 Argyle Pinot Noirs from these two Oregon - Willamette Valley produces.
I feel prices are important to mention here as both are entry level pinots for both wineries with the Erath costing $19 and the Argyle $25 at Northside Wines in Ithaca.

The Erath was tasted first and proved to be the lighter in both a visual sense and in texture with a red cherry flavor mixed light floral notes with a slight hint of spice but I also detected some bitterness to it. It's a simple wine that requires food rather than just benefiting from it. Not really a wine to talk about.

The Argyle shared a similar profile with its light ruby red color and bright cherry nose. Cherries and spice also showed in tasting with the main differentiator from Erath being its medium body and finish which was longer by comparison. I also felt that this was a simple wine that needed food.

In the end, these two wines were simply not exciting to me. Fine and certainly not flawed but just quaffers in the end.

Normally I don't have a problem with this and would just move one but in this case I want to express two opinions. First, these wines are both commonly found in wine shops across the U.S. and are likely to be the first Oregon pinots that many will taste for the first time. Oregon is a fantastic pinot noir region and I fear that drinkers new to the state might not give the next level of pinot a chance after experiencing these. Second, at approximately $20+ a bottle, better values can be had even in the entry level from Burgundy. Namely from Drouhin and Louis Latour. Like I said, not exciting and somewhat disappointing as I was hoping for just little bit more.


Thad W. said...

Great to see you covering Oregon wine from New York. And I am glad to see you have a taste for Oregon pinot noir.

I opened the '07 Erath the other night and am planning to do so again to cover it along with a dozen other '07 Oregon pinots. Coming off of the challenging '06 vintage, where Oregon pinot was a bit over-ripe and over-extracted, I am finding the understated '07s to be just my style.

Granted, as you suggest, these are food wines, for they really open up and reveal themselves with a meal. For those interested in a stand-alone wine before their meal, I recommend an '07 pinot gris or pinot blanc from Oregon to get you started.

I look forward to reading more about your experiences with Oregon wine in the months ahead.

Greg Ceo said...

The problem with Oregon wine is that the great ones start at $35 a bottle. At that price, wouldn't I just reach for a French Burgundy? And the really good wines are $50 a bottle and in VERY short supply.