Avalon Wine

 

Shea Vineyard, 2004

Shea Vineyard, Summer 2004

Oregon's 2004 Pinot noirs Revisited

A 2007 Perspective &
What the Wine Press Said
Wine Spectator and Parker Scores

by Jean Yates
February 2007

Re-evaluate 2004 in 2007? Why?

While snapshots of a vintage when it's first produced provide valuable insights about quality and style, it's only in the longer term that a wine vintage can be deeply understood and evaluated.

In January of 2005, Oregon's Pinot noirs were already being rated. Wine Spectator gave the vintage a "B+". Our website extolled the balance and quality of the wines, tasted from the barrels where they were still evolving. The vintage was touted as a more balanced, yet still rich vintage, a relief after the overly hot summer of 2003 produced many high alcohol, unbalanced wines.

By June of 2006, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate had rated the vintage "90E"- "outstanding and early maturing". Wines from Ayoub, Bergstrom, and Shea were among the many "early arrivers" released, and the best of the 2004 vintage were grabbed up quickly, their balance and complexity impressing wine buyers and wine writers alike.

Now, in early 2007, with most of the 2004's released and many long gone, the combination of dozens of sets of 2004 Oregon Pinot noir tasting notes and the longer perspective of two additional vintages since 2004 warrant a re-evaluation of the vintage.

2004 in A Nutshell

2004 in a nutshell: 2004 is the first of a series of three (so far) vintages where the best Oregon Pinot noirs are characterized by rich flavors, balanced tannins and a remarkably lovely uplifting, refreshing acidity. The warm summers that started in 1998 have continued, but the heat wave of 2003 has not recurred, and vineyard managers, at the best sites, have learned to manage canopy, water, and trellising to minimize heat stress. In addition, and most importantly, the cold nights of fall in Oregon have added balanced acidity and brightness to the wines, a most attractive quality, and one that makes the wines excellent with food.

Previous Articles on northwest-wine.com
about the 2004 vintage:

The Great
2004 Vintage:
Oregon's
2004 Wines

by Cole Danehower

Josh Bergstrom
on Oregon's
2004 Vintage

by Josh Bergstrom

Mike Etzel
(Beaux Freres)
on Oregon's
2004 Vintage

by Mike Etzel

Shea Wine Cellars' 2004 Vintage
by Jean Yates

Bottling Shea's 2004 "Homer"
by Jean Yates

The 2004
Shea Pinot noirs Reviewed

by Jean Yates

2004 was the beginning of a trend... that is now clear. Just after the 2004 harvest, the vintage was considered by itself. Now, with the additional insights gained by two additional vintages, and the trends in weather patterns continuing towards warm summers and longer growing seasons, 2004 is clearly the beginning of a run of vintages with similar qualities.

Each of the vintages since 2003 has similar circumstances leading to common traits. The heat of a warmer summer than pre-1998 produces plenty of sweet, intense fruit flavors. Oregon's coastal range's traditional cold falls have continued, and the cold evenings promote acidity, which balances the intense fruit and adds a highly pleasant and distinct finish to the wines that is uplifting and refreshing. This lovely balance of rich sweet fruit with uplifting acidity characterizes well made Oregon Pinot noirs made in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Avalon's Top 2004 Oregon Pinot noirs

What were Avalon's choices for the top wines? Given that we do not have access to all of the wines made in Oregon, and we have closer relationships with some wineries, this is a list of the Pinot noirs we discovered, enjoyed, and sold, NOT a list of the top wines developed from a comprehensive tasting of every last 2004 Pinot made in the state. In other words, there are other, very good Pinots out there, we just don't have access to them.

* Still available to purchase
** Part of the 2004 Collectors Case

Avalon's Top 2004 Oregon Pinot noirs
for Collecting and Cellaring

Beaux Freres Estate $75
Beaux Freres Upper Terrace $90
* **Dusky Goose $49.45
** Shea Estate $38
Shea Homer $75
Shea East Hill $42
Shea Wadenswil $48
Broadley Claudia's $48
Broadley Marcile Lorraine $50
St Innocent White Rose $40
St Innocent Shea $36
Evesham Wood Cuvee J $38
Bergstrom Bergstrom Vineyard $75
Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve $45
Owen Roe Kilmore $39
Raptor Ridge Reserve $36
Sineann Wyeast $39

Avalon's Top Oregon Pinot noirs
You've Never Heard of (And Want To)

Et Fille Kalita $32
Stevenson Barrie Shea $30
Ana $39
Capitello $34
*Winters Hill Reserve $50
*Antica Terra $38.50
*Black Cap $42
Ayoub
$42
*Carabella $
*Patton Valley $30
Thomas $38
Coeur de Terre $34
Daedalus Labyrinth $40
Quercus Cadmus $30
Roots Estate $20
Carlton Cellars $45

Avalon's Top Value Oregon Pinot noirs
Immediate Drinking, Outstanding Price/Quality

Evesham Wood WV $17
St Innocent Villages Cuvee $20
720 Cellars $21
Andrew Rich Cuvee B $22
Bethel Heights WV $20
Klee $20
Elk Cove $23
Quercus Harmonia $20
Jezebel $17
Lumos Wren $23
O'Reilly's $15
Patricia Green "Oregon" $22
Brandborg Benchland $21

2004 Oregon Pinot noir Reviewed by Wine Spectator

Reviews of the 2004 vintage came quickly after harvest. Wine Spectator declared Oregon's 2004 vintage a "B+" and Washington's a "B", in January, 2005, and said: "It was a year of extremes for Oregon growers. Late winter and early spring were exceptionally cool and dry, which kept the crop size down, then heat waves arrived in July and August. In Willamette Valley, grape sugar levels were peaking in late summer and harvest looked imminent, but then it was postponed by cool, wet weather that arrived in late August and again in mid-September. About three inches of rain fell overall, although southern Oregon received less. Harvest proceeded in fits and starts, and winemakers report that grapes weathered the storms remarkably well."

Wine Spectator has reviewed 156 2004 Oregon Pinot noirs. Fifty of the 2004 wines received 91 or more points, compared to 52 of the 208 wines of the 2003 vintage that were reviewed.

Here are Wine Spectator's top 50 Oregon Pinot noirs
as of December of 2006

Beaux Frères Pinot Noir Willamette Valley The Beaux Frères Vineyard 95 $75
Shea Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate 95 $38
Shea Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Homer 95 $75
Bergström Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard 94 $55
Shea Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard East Hill 94 $42
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley McCrone Vineyard 94 $45
Beaux Frères Pinot Noir Willamette Valley The Upper Terrace 93 $90
Beaux Frères Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Belles Soeurs Ana Vineyard 93 $50
Bergström Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Bergström Vineyard 93 $75
Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Casteel Reserve 93 $45
Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Diversité 93 $45
Penner-Ash Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard 93 $55
Shea Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Wädenswil Clone 93 $48
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Canary Hill Vineyard 93 $45
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Carter Vineyard 93 $45
Ayoub Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 92 $42
Bergström Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Nysa Vineyard 92 $45
Chehalem Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Ridgecrest Vineyards 92 $39
Chehalem Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Reserve 92 $60
Lemelson Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Jerome Reserve 92 $50
Lemelson Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Thea's Selection 92 $32
Penner-Ash Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Goldschmidt Vineyard 92 $55
Torii Mor Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District Shea Vineyard 92 $75
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Guadalupe Vineyard 92 $45
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Calkins Lane Vineyard 91 $48
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Bryan Creek Vineyard 91 $48
Beaux Frères Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Belles Soeurs 91 $45
Belle Pente Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Murto Vineyard 91 $38
Bergström Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Cumberland Reserve 91 $35
Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Freedom Hill Vineyard 91 $40
Brick House Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Cuvée du Tonnelier 91 $45
Brick House Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Les Dijonnais 91 $42
Cathy Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Reserve 91 $44
Domaine Coteau Pinot Noir Yamhill County 91 $27
Elk Cove Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Roosevelt 91 $55
Erath Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Estate Selection 91 $30
Lemelson Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Meyer Vineyard 91 $42
Lemelson Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Stermer Vineyard 91 $42
Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 91 $35
Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Reserve 91 $50
Siduri Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Muirfield Vineyard 91 $39
Sineann Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Resonance Vineyard 91 $48
Sineann Pinot Noir Oregon 91 $30
Stoller Pinot Noir Dundee Hills JV 91 $22
Torii Mor Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Deux Verres Reserve 91 $42
Torii Mor Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Hawks View Vineyard 91 $60
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Freedom Hill Vineyard 91 $45
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard 91 $45
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Meredith Mitchell Vineyard 91 $45
Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir McMinnville Natasha Block 91 $28

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate Scores for the 2004 Vintage

Beaux Freres does not appear on this list as it is partially owned by Robert Parker

Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Nysa Vineyard 93 $50
Ribbon Ridge Winery Pinot Noir Rr Ridgecrest Vineyards 92 $60
Bergstrom Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard 92 $55
Bryce Vineyard Pinot Noir 91 $32
Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard 91 $40
Cathy Pinot Noir Reserve 91 $45
Elk Cove Pinot Noir Mount Richmond 91 $32
Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard 91 $50
Bergstrom Pinot Noir de Lancellotti Vineyard 91 $60
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Calkin's Lane Vineyard 91 $48
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Goldschmidt Vineyard 91 $48
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Elizabeth's Reserve 91 $43
Rex Hill Vineyards Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard 90 $40
Stoller Estate Pinot Noir Estate Grown 90 $36
Penner-Ash Winery Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard 90 $55
Penner-Ash Winery Pinot Noir Goldschmidt Vineyard 90 $45
Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Mccrone Vineyard 90 $50
Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard 90 $50
Bergstrom Pinot Noir Broadley Vineyard 90 $45

Buy 2004 Oregon Pinot noirs