Top Scoring 2010 Oregon Pinot noirs

Tanzer’s Annual Review of Oregon Pinot noirs – 2010 Vintage

Oregon 2010 vintage Pinot noir really is something special.  The tiny yields brought in have produced some outstanding Pinot noir.

Tanzer LogoAccording to Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar’s Josh Raynolds, “Fans of bright, focused pinot noir are going to find plenty to like from the 2010 vintage…The hallmarks of the vintage are sweet red fruits, bright floral character and lively acidity.  The best wines are balanced to age but also offer vivacious character that will allow most of them to be enjoyed in their youth”.

We’ve been saying for months that the 2010 Pinots are great. We’re glad that another respected wine critic agrees.

The Vintage and Its Challenges

2010 was a real challenge for Oregon’s growers. The long cool spring and summer put everything behind schedule and as soon as the grapes began to ripen, birds arrived in full force (a la Hitchcock’s famous horror film) and reduced yields by nearly half in some instances. Pending rains added an extra variable to the harvest.

below, Bergstrom Winery view on a rare sunny day during the 2010 growing season

Oregon Pinot noir vintage 2010 Bergstrom Vineyard

According to Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman, “Other than bird damage, the vintage will be remembered for looming rainstorms. Several expected storms in late September and early October passed with little rain. But a big storm arrived Oct. 23 and hammered the area for several days. No one has much good to say about vineyards that were not ready to pick before Oct. 23. Those who picked before that storm are happy with what they have in barrels today”.

St. Innocent Winery's Mark Vlossakat right, St. Innocent Winery’s Mark Vlossak – St. Innocent received some of Tanzer’s best scores for their 2010 wines

Even though the yield was smaller than previous vintages and the entire growing season was a real nail-biter, the 2010 vintage produced some outstanding wines. Josh says “the raciness of the 2010s suggests to me that these wines will be good mid-term agers, but without demanding the patience that the structured, still youthful and often inscrutable (at this stage) 2008s require. There’s a measure of succulence to them that bodes well for both early and mid-term drinking and I suspect that fans of the brighter school of pinot, such as most Burgundy lovers, will find much to like from the vintage.”

Here are some of our favorites - Shop for the Wines Here

Bergstrom Winery Pinot noir Bergstrom Vineyard 2010 – $79.95/$71.95 – Tanzer 94 points – Bright ruby.  Powerful aromas of cherry-cola, pipe tobacco, sandalwood and vanilla, with a floral topnote.  At once juicy and deeply pitched, offering chewy dark fruit and violet pastille flavors accented by vanilla and licorice.  Fine-grained tannins build on the very persistent, gently sweet finish.  The yield from this vineyard was reportedly 0.9 tons per acre in 2010. – J.R.

St. Innocent Temperance Hill Vineyard Pinot noir 2010 – $32.95/$29.66 – Tanzer 92 points -  Deep red. Pungent, spice-accented aromas of cherry-cola, raspberry and potpourri, with a smoky overtone. Offers an array of deep, nicely focused red and dark berry preserve flavors. Spice and floral notes dominate on the very long, gently tannic, energetic finish. This wine’s intense fruit gives it great immediate appeal but it has the balance to age. – J.R.

Patricia Green Cellars “Notorious” Pinot noir 2010- $69.95/$62.95 - Tanzer 94 points – Deep ruby-red. Cherry-cola, boysenberry, vanilla and star anise on the assertively perfumed nose. Lush, palate-staining red and dark berry flavors are lifted by tangy acidity and pick up a sexy floral pastille nuance with air. Rich but lively pinot with excellent finishing energy and lingering floral character. – J.R.

St. Innocent Shea Vineyard Pinot noir 2010 – $49.95/$40.46 – Tanzer 93 points – Bright ruby-red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes candied black raspberry, cherry, star anise and lavender. Juicy and precise in the mouth, offering intense red and dark berry preserve flavors and notes of candied flowers and licorice. Silky tannins add grip to the very long, sappy, focused finish. – J.R.

Bergstrom Winery Pinot noir Shea Vineyard 2010 – $49.95/$44.95 – Tanzer 93 points – Vivid ruby. Sexy, oak-spiced aromas of black raspberry, cherry and cola, with smoke and Asian spice accents building with air. Sappy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering intense red and dark berry preserve flavors lifted by tangy acidity. Shows sneaky power on the smoky finish, leaving spice, vanilla and candied lavender notes behind. Give this youthful wine at least another couple years of bottle age. – J.R.

Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Pinot noir 2010 – $49.95/$44.95 – Tanzer 93 points – Bright ruby-red. Heady aromas of candied red fruits, incense and cola, with suave floral nuances building in the glass. Offers intense raspberry and cherry flavors and bright blood orange and spicecake qualities, along with a touch of anise. Fine-grained tannins give shape and grip to the long, nervy, focused finish. This wine should age well on its balance. – J.R.

Patricia Green Cellars Ana Vineyard Pinot noir 2010 – $44.95/$40.46 – Tanzer 93 points – Bright red. An exotic, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes candied red berries, Asian spices and fresh rose, with subtle cola and smoke accents building with air. Spicy raspberry and cherry flavors show impressive depth but come off as lithe, with notes of blood orange and cinnamon adding vivacity. Closes tangy and long, with excellent clarity and persistence. – J.R.

Patricia Green Cellars Balcombe Vineyard Block 1B Pinot noir 2010 – $49.95/$44.95Tanzer 93 points – Vivid ruby-red. Highly perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, rose and Asian spices, plus a smoky topnote. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that gain depth with air. Shows impressive power on the chewy finish, which features notes of cola and dark cherry. – J.R.

Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard Pinot noir 2010 – $58.95/$53.05 – Tanzer 93 points – Vivid ruby-red. Sexy, oak-spiced aromas of black raspberry, anise and potpourri. Supple, palate-staining red and dark berry flavors show very good intensity and focus, with a cherry-cola nuance adding interest. Rich, silky and seamless in texture, with subtle floral and Asian spice nuances coming up with air. Fine-grained tannins add shape to the very long, sweet, smoky finish, which features an exotic touch of lavender pastille. – J.R.

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