2010 might be the best vintage in Oregon….ever. It certainly was the coldest. And colder temperatures along with the right amount of sunshine leads to well structured wines. I delve into that subject in the Cowboy or Hippie….is 2010 the Best Vintage Ever?
Bergstrom is one of the Willamette Valley’s better known high quality producers sourcing pinot noir fruit from some of Oregon’s finest vineyards, and many of their wines are priced as such. The Cumberland Reserve on the other hand only retails for a modest $35 with prime fruit from three key vineyards—Bergstrom, Shea and de Lancelotti.
Holiday celebrations will be a lot sexier once the Cumberland Reserve starts flowing. Look for an expressive nose filled with ripe lush red fruits, red flowers, potpourri and a guest appearance from fresh blueberries. Oregon winemakers are starting to really fall in love with the use of oak (much to my chagrin) but here Josh Bergstrom pulled back on the oak which allowed the wine to keep its pretty feminine figure without too much cedar-y baking spice action. So far, out of the 2010 Bergstrom pinots we’ve had, this seems to be drinking the best right now and is just waiting to be opened during the holidays which is why it’s #9 on the 12 Wines of Christmas list.
Honorable Mention – 2010 Luminous Hills
Another contender for this spot was the 2010 Luminous Hills Pinot Noir from newish producer, Seven of Hearts. Winemaker Byron Dooley came out swinging with his new label featuring very good terroir-driven wines that are well priced. They were one of my 3 Wines to Discover in the Northwest post.
His 2010 Seven of Hearts Pinot Noir retails around $20 and, like Bergstrom, makes use of prime vineyard sources and also like Bergstrom reduces the amount of oak allowing his wines to be lower and alcohol and much prettier (hippy style). Byron’s wines are split into a few different labels—Seven of Hearts explores Pinot Noir from vineyards around Oregon. Chatte d’Avignon is his other label that explores Rhone style varieties from around the Northwest, and Chateau Figareaux which explores Bordeaux varietals in Oregon and Washington.
Luminous Hills is Byron’s estate vineyard where he selects the best parcels for the ultimate expression of Pinot Noir. I shared this 2010 Luminous Hills with a fellow wine geek over the summer. He had never had this wine before and was blown away by it. Byron’s “top level” Pinot is still modestly priced at $35, a steal for the quality.
The reason it’s an honorable mention is because there just isn’t enough to go around. The 12 Wines of Christmas are wines that I suggest so people can go find them in their nearby stores. Hopefully by this time next year Seven of Hearts will have wider distribution. Until then, you can find out more about Byron is up to at Seven of Hearts online.