5 quiet pinot noirs to try
By Dave McIntyre,
Recommendations ★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor. These wines demonstrate what Oregon pinot noir can achieve when handled with restraint. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and do not think that they will all taste alike. By taking a hands-off approach in the winery, these vintners allow the wines to express the characteristics of their vineyard sites. — D.M.
Adelsheim Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Willamette Valley, Ore., $34
Liquid silk — and it tastes like pinot noir.
Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Country Vintner in Virginia: Widely available in the District, including A.M. Wine Shoppe, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, various Safeway locations, and Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, P Street). Widely available in Maryland, including Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Beltway Fine Wine & Spirits in Towson, Calvert Discount Liquors in Cockeysville, Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits and Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City, State Line Liquors in Elkton, Total Discount Liquors in Sykesville. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington, various Total Wine & More locations, various Wegmans locations, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Vienna).
Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Willamette Valley, Ore., $33
This leading producer makes several single-vineyard pinot noir wines that can serve as a textbook lesson in terroir. The 3 Vineyard blend creates a regional expression that shows Willamette Valley at its best.
Bacchus in the District and Maryland; Country Vintner in Virginia: Available in the District at Barmy Wines & Liquors, Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s, Safeway (Georgetown), Whole Foods Market (P Street); on the list at Adour, Bourbon Steak, Brasserie Beck, Cafe Aka, DC Coast, Degrees Bistro, Eola, Meridian Pint, Rasika, Restaurant Nora and the Source by Wolfgang Puck. Available in Maryland at Blue Wind Gourmet in Lexington Park; Beltway Fine Wines and Spirits in Towson; Grand Cru, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits and Spirits of Mount Vernon in Baltimore; and Wishing Well Liquors in Easton. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington; Slater’s Lane Market in Alexandria; and on the list at Restaurant Eve and Society Fair in Alexandria.
Patton Valley Pinot Noir Estate 2009
★★1 / 2
Willamette Valley, Ore., $35
This is an example of a wine light in color but not in substance.
Kysela: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, Georgetown Wine & Spirits, Magruder’s; on the list at Brasserie Beck. Available in Maryland at Calvert Discount Liquors in Cockeysville, Fairgrounds Discount Beverages in Timonium, Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville, Old Vine and Wine Source in Baltimore, Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse in Forest Hill. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Throx Country Store in Winchester, Unwined in Alexandria, Vino Volo at Washington Dulles International Airport, Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Alexandria), Wine Styles in Montclair.
Roco Pinot Noir 2010
★★1 / 2
Willamette Valley, Ore., $32
As founding winemaker for Argyle winery, Rollin Soles is an Oregon pioneer. In 2001 he created this project with his wife, Corby. (Roco is a combination of their names.) The wine shows bright strawberry-fruit flavors with a core of stony minerality that is deceptive. I kept looking into my glass, wondering what I had just tasted, as the flavors lingered long after the wine was gone.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Calvert-Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverage, Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Edgewater Liquors, Hair o’ the Dog and Town & Country Wines in Easton, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Patuxent Wine & Liquor in Lusby, Preserve Wine & Spirits in Arundel Mills, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Vino Volo in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Vienna Vintner; the Vineyard in McLean, Vintage Wine in Harrisonburg, Whole Foods Market (Charlottesville).
Brandborg 2009 Bench Lands Pinot Noir
★★1 / 2
Umpqua Valley, Ore., $23
To use the obvious but inexact analogy with Burgundy, some producers insist on mimicking the power of Pommard. Brandborg is content to romp in Santenay, an appellation that produces delicate pinot noir with surprising, scene-stealing presence.
Free Run: Available in the District at Cordial Wine Shop. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Twisted Vines in Arlington, Ashburn Wine Shop, Chain Bridge Cellars and the Vineyard in McLean, Clifton Wine Shop, Le Tastevin Fine Wines in Alexandria, Throx Country Store and Shenandoah Fine Chocolates in Winchester, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview, Vienna Vintner; and on the list at Fontaine Caffe and Creperie in Alexandria.
More from Food: ‘American Wine,’ a tale of great growth