On the Trail

OREGON VINTAGE GUIDE

Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:

  • 2015 - It appears as if we may get to enjoy back to back vintages of tremendous quality in Oregon.   The 2015 harvest started in late August, one of the earliest in recorded history.  The barrel samples we’ve tried carry ripeness, structure and balanced acidity through and throughout.   2015 could turn out to be a monumental vintage not only in Oregon, but the entire West Coast and most of Europe as well. 

 

  • 2014 - The 2014 vintage in Oregon was one of grace and perfection.  From the growing season to harvest there were virtually no reports of problems or challenges whatsoever.  Harvest began in mid-September, a few weeks earlier than expected but yields were stable, buds ripened evenly and there were no meaningful challenges within any of the appellations.  Expect balanced fruit, stable acidity and intense flavors.

 

  • 2013 - Ideal conditions and rumblings of back-to-back 90+ point vintages dominated most discussions until a torrential rain dumped several inches on the valley in late September.   Some wineries hit the panic button and picked too early while others waited out the rain.  Results varied on both fronts leading to some confusion for consumers.  The upside to an inconsistent vintage like this is that most wines are priced to sell so the gamble is often worth it.

 

  • 2012 - After the coldest vintage ever recorded in Oregon came a curve-ball; one of the driest seasons in history.  A wonderful contrast to 2011, the 2012’s display lushness and flash without any indication of greenness. It wasn’t just Pinot Noir that excelled in 2012; white varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris were rich and textured as well.  By virtually all accounts, 2012 was a spectacular vintage along the West Coast.

 

  • 2011 - 2011 was the latest and coldest vintage ever recorded in Oregon.  In light of the conditions, many industry vets viewed it as a dark-horse vintage, some even comparing it to landmark years such as 1999 and 2008.  While colder conditions led to higher acid levels and less flesh, it’s turned out to be a vintage riddled with values. It’s the perfect vintage for those seeking lighter, racier iterations of domestic Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.  

 

  • 2010 - 2010 was framed as the one of the most successful vintages ever for Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley.  The most significant downside of the vintage was historically low yields and therefore curtailed case production.  2010’s are generally more accessible young compared to the rock-star 2008’s. These wines are still drinking wonderfully seven years later.  The biggest hassle is trying to get your hands on a bottle.  

 

  • 2009 - A warm growing season led many to believe that 2009 was going to replicate the powerful 2008 vintage until uneven temperatures and intermittent rains complicated harvest schedules.  All in all, the vintage is defined as bold and rich, a slight contrast to Oregon’s generally high-toned, Burgundian model. Legendary Oregon winemaker Rollin Soles (of Argyle & ROCO) found that the 09’s were “especially vibrant in color with some really attractive, balanced textures."

 

  • 2008 - 2008 is widely viewed as the best winemaking vintage in the history of Oregon.  In their youth, many top-shelf releases were perceptively closed, dense and tannic but softened considerably after a few years of bottle age.  These wines have continued to develop beautifully, uncovering fresh acidity, fully ripened fruit, supple tannins and enough heft to merit additional cellaring. 

 

  • 2007 - A vintage marked by cool, dry weather, when it wasn’t raining.  Most wines wound up light and feminine, others with herbaceous or greener undertones. The difficulty of the vintage created a trove of under-the-radar values for Pinot Noir from the valley’s most prominent producers.  

 

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