The Best Oregon Pinot Noir I've Had

Saturday, April 5, 2014

If you've been reading the WWP for any length of time you're aware I drink more Pinot Noir than any other category. I love domestic Pinot Noir because it's so versatile, delicious, and relatively affordable. And while Oregon pins its reputation on Pinot Noir I generally prefer California Pinot Noir because it's more fruit forward and at the $30-$40 price point I find it more reliably satisfying.

But when Oregon does Pinot Noir well they do it very well. And the 2010 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir is one the best Pinot Noirs I've ever had from anywhere. And it's definitely the best I've had from Oregon.

See also: 5 Terroir Driven California Pinot Noir Producers

The first time I tried the 2010 Domaine Serene Evenstad Pinot Noir was at Todd English's bluezoo at the The Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel. The kids were enjoying themselves at Camp Dolphin and the adults were enjoying a fantastic meal at bluezoo. I spotted the Domaine Serene Evenstad on the list for $100 which seems like a lot for a bottle of wine - and it is - but compared to other wines on the list and its $65 release price I thought it was a good deal. And the wine absolutely delivered. So good.

The next time I had it was with friends at Sweet Basil in Needham. We get together once in a while to take advantage of the BYOB-friendly policy and their amazing food. We usually taste blind when we do this to see if we can guess what we each brought. It's always risky bringing a lighter bodied wine to a blind tasting situation like this for fear of it being clobbered by bolder wines. But the Domaine Serene showed so well. Its charm and complexity was immediately evident. A friend with a sharp palate first thought it might be Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir but then changed his mind and called Oregon Pinot Noir because he detected a clove note he often picks up in Oregon Pinot Noir.

He nailed it and that sums this wine up stylistically. It's got characteristics I love in my favorite California Pinot Noirs but delivers it in such a graceful package. Effortless power. Depth of flavor without needless concentration. Really spectacular.

Harvey Steiman rated the wine 95 points and it landed at #3 on Wine Spectator's 2013 Top 100 list. I think he nailed it. 95 points for me too. Classic Oregon Pinot Noir.

Winery website:

Zachys is having a 15% off domestic wine sale this weekend which brings the price down to $52.69/btl (plus shipping). I've had a hard time finding this wine for less than $59, especially since it landed in Spectator's Top 10 list so I think this is a great deal. But compare prices on Wine-Searcher to see if you can find a better deal. If you want to buy it I'd act fast - they've got less than a case left.

Question of the Day: What is the best Oregon Pinot Noir you've had?


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