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Under $25 Pinot noirs You'll Want to Know About
Local and Very Small Production Wines for Insiders
November 2, 2005

A customer commented to me today that he'd been disappointed by a lot of $50+ Red Burgundies - he was ordering the Shea 2004 Pinots, which drink, he said, like a $275 French Burgundy. As you know, the Shea wines are made in miniscule quantities and are not widely available.

On a value priced note, here are a few under $25 Oregon Pinot noirs that taste like a lot more. They're all from small producers whose wines are not widely known or available. Our local customers are longtime fans of many of these wines, which we are now offering to a wider clientele. We think you'll find excellent price/performance in these lovely wines.

Evesham Wood "Le Puit Sec" Pinot noir 04 $25.61/$28.45
I know this wine is slightly over our $25 goal, but it's just such a great value I had to include it.

Burghound is the respected wine writer Allan Meadows, whose specialty is Burgundy and Pinot noir. He tends to rate most wines of good quality at 88 points or so - a rating above 90 is rare. So when he rated Evesham's "Le Puit Sec" Pinot noir 03 with 91 points, it means a lot. I believe it was his highest rating for 2003 vintage Oregon Pinot noir.

Here's what he had to say: "This is ripe yet elegant with earthy red berry fruits that carry only the barest trace of wood and leads to rich, round, supple, plush and pure middle weight flavors that possess beautiful texture and real sap with a dusty, persistent and restrained finish. This is really a lovely effort that is balanced and understated yet presents itself with finesse and grace with no more than a hint of finishing warmth. This is much less a creature of its vintage than most of the wines in this review as it remains very pinot in style. In short, one of the wines of the vintage. 91/2008"

We could not agree more. The Le Puit Sec 03 is a lovely wine, with not a hint of the excess heat found in many 2003 Oregon Pinot noirs. It's both lush and delicate, an elegant wine with lots of plush fruit that will please a crowd and pair well with a wide array of foods. Russ Raney is a real genius, one of Oregon's treasures, and his reasonable prices make his wines even more of a "must-have".

Siduri Pinot noir Willamette Valley 04 $17.50/$19.45

Black raspberry, wild cherry, bittersweet chocolate and hints of licorice in the nose are followed by more of the same in the mouth, nicely balanced and succulent. Siduri's Adam Lee makes wines in Santa Rosa CA from both Oregon andCalifornia fruit, and he knows Pinot noir.

Adam Lee and Dianna Novy, now his wife, met while working at Neiman Marcus, in the wine and gourmet food department. They fell in love with wine and decided to start making Pinot noir, moving to California's Dry Creek Valley to work for a small winery. One evening, after a few glasses of wine, they heard that famed wine writer Robert Parker was staying at the Meadowood Resort in the Napa Valley. Emboldened by the wine, they pulled a sample of their first wine and left it with the concierge for Mr. Parker. This wine ultimately received a 90-point rating in the Wine Advocate. Their winery, Siduri Wines, took off from there.

The Willamette Valley is always a hot seller from Siduri, the price is so reasonable. Expect this wine to sell out in a few weeks.


Lumos Pinot noir 2003 $19.75/$21.95
An elegant, refreshing Pinot noir with great balance and an easy drinking character. Scents of black raspberry, pink peppercorns, and hints of red currant echo in the flavor, with the addition of blackberry and a hint of red cherry essence. The finish has notes of nutmeg and warm spicy pepper, with absolutely no heat in the finish. It's a 2003 with only 13% alcohol, 100% Temperance Hill Vineyard fruit (which winemaker Dai Crisp manages), and the signs of excellent vintage management are here in the balanced soft tannins and crisp, subtle acidity. This is a real hottie here in Corvallis, one of our most popular wines with local customers.


Harmonia Pinot noir 2004 $18.86/$20.95
OK, so we mentioned this wine last time. Well, we've retasted the wine several times and have decided it's good enough that we are sending it to our Reserve Pinot noir Club in December. We rarely send a $21 wine to the club, because our mandate is to send the very best Pinot noirs from Oregon. But Michael's little Harmonia Pinot has such great flavors for the price, we thought even our high-end Pinot members would want to know about his wines.

Michael Beckley makes small amounts of very well priced wine. He works for a number of wineries and makes his own label on the side. All of his wines are made in tiny amounts, and it's obvious that his years at Domaine Drouhin were used well. He's a talented winemaker and a rising star whose wines we plan to watch for eagerly.

His 2004 Harmonia Pinot noir is everything you'd want and expect in a ready to drink Oregon Pinot. Black berry fruitand soft cinnamon spice in the nose and quite striking sweet spice and blackberry, black raspberry, and more pie spice in the flavor, the wine has a singularly pleasant cinnamon spice note on the finish. It's just a real nice wine for the price. Michael also makes a delectable Chardonnay (Theia) and a round, plush Syrah ( Hyperion).


Well that's this week's Pinot noirs that taste like a lot more than they cost. We hope you find something you like, and give us a call! We love to talk with customers - you give us our best ideas.

Best regards,

Jean, Marcus, Chris, Kevin, and Wendy

Jean Yates
Avalon Wine
201 SW 2nd Street
Corvallis OR 97333

Marcus Looze

Chris Haggerty
Customer Service

Kevin Hanscom
Shipping Manager

Wendy Brown

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