2017 Ken Wright, Bryce Vineyard Pinot Noir, $60
Winery Info: Ken Wright founded his eponymous winery in 1994 in Carlton, Oregon and since then has become one of the state’s most respected winemakers. He is passionate about showcasing the influence of the distinct sites he uses in each of his single-vineyard wines, firmly believing that Pinot Noir is one of the best grapes for conveying the character of the soil in which it is grown. In a feature article on Ken in 2014, The Wine Spectator called him the “Master of Pinot Noir in Oregon.”
Winemaker: Ken Wright
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, from Wädenswil, 115, and Pommard clones.
Vineyard: Bryce Vineyard, in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Planted in 1999 on ancient marine sedimentary Willakenzie soil.
Flavor profile: The Bryce Pinot is dark, savory, and brooding, with dusky spice notes and deep flavors of ripe blueberry. With balanced acidity and a long, satisfying finish.
Production: There is still a fair amount available.
Drinkability: It is drinking beautifully now, or you could let it continue to develop, through 2024.
Food Pairing: Pinots from marine sedimentary soil tend to pair well with more rustic, savory dishes. The firmly structured Bryce Pinot would be delicious with seared duck breast with butter sautéed morel mushrooms and wild rice, or pork tenderloin with grilled peaches and an herbed goat cheese.
2019 J. K. Carriere, “Glass,” White Pinot Noir, $25
Winery Info: Jim Prosser worked with eight classic Pinot Noir producers in Burgundy, New Zealand, Australia, and Oregon, before starting his own winery in 1999. In 2007 he purchased 40 acres on the southeast slope of Parrett Mountain just east of Newberg, in the Chehalem Mountain AVA, where his winery is located today. His “Glass” is a made with turn-of-the-century Champagne techniques that were used to strip the color and broaden the palate. It is like a Rosé Champagne from that era, without the bubbles.
Winemaker: Jim Prosser
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir. Fermented with native yeasts and aged in older French oak barrels.
Vineyards: Three high-elevation vineyards: Temperance Hill in the Eola-Amity Hills, and Barron-Wahl and their St. Dolores Estate Vineyard, in the Chehalem Mountains. All three have volcanic Jory soil.
Flavor profile: It is dry and refreshing, with inviting citrus and honeysuckle aromas, elegant texture and depth, and layers of fruit flavors.
Production: 555 cases produced. It is still in fairly decent supply.
Drinkability: It is ready to enjoy anytime over the next year or two.
Food Pairing: On its own, or with soft cheeses, appetizers, or perhaps brunch.