OREGON VINTAGE GUIDE
Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:
2017- For both Oregon and Washington, smoke was the primary potential hazard in 2017, as the wildfires that raged in both states, as well as in northern California, created a blanket of haze that covered most regions for extended periods of time. Thankfully, very little smoke taint was reported among the finished wines. While the southern AVAs of Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley saw most of the effects (though still few and far between), the Willamette Valley remained virtually unaffected in its finished wines. The 2017 crop is described by many winemakers as a classic, especially for the hallmark Pinot Noir wines. Unlike the previous three vintages, temperatures were more moderate in 2017, and due to a late start to bud break and flowering, the season saw an extended harvest take place under near-perfect weather conditions. Initial results suggest that 2017 in Oregon should fall somewhere on the spectrum between the warmer recent vintages and the cooler years that had defined Willamette since the early days.
2016- Continuing a trend that's becoming the "new normal", the 2016 growing season in Oregon was warm and dry. While it wasn't the hottest ever, it was the earliest ever with a trio of records for budbreak, flowering, and harvest. Producers throughout the state are highly enthusiastic about the finished wines. Initial impressions suggest they are a combination of the best features of the previous two vintages. Incredible depth and ripeness (2014) has matched with energy and verve (2015) indicating a potentially classic vintage in the making.
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.