Swirl, Sniff, Sip: Oregon Pinot Noir

When people say they don’t like wine that tells me one of two things: they are still drinking sugary cocktails or they are still ordering wine generally in the “I’ll have a glass of chardonnay’ or “I’ll have a glass of red wine” context.

Here are my wine ordering tips:

–Never order a glass of wine generally. Be specific or what you’ll get is the stuff the beverage manager is trying to deplete from inventory.

–Always ask to see a wine menu and scan it for wines sold by the glass. Even if you have no idea what you are reading, fake it and confidently order a glass, even if it’s the least expensive on the menu knowing that you are insuring a decent glass of wine and a better wine tasting experience.

— Remember switching from a sugary cocktail to wine is difficult on the palate and will result in the wine tasting more acidic or tart. So, drink a glass of water in between or better yet, start with wine and finish with wine, don’t mix!

–Buy your wine at a wine shop where the staff are better suited to answer your questions. If you only have $20 to spend, tell them, and they will recommend a great bottle for your price point. Wine enthusiasts WANT you in on the secret, and they will wax poetic about wines for as long as you let them. Listen, learn, and increase your wine vocabulary, just be careful because it could become your new obsession!

Right now I am obsessing over Pinot Noirs which are most closely associated with the Burgundy region of France and enjoying an almost cult status these days. Long considered a difficult grape to grow and produce, the pinot grape is now grown in countries like Italy, New Zealand and South Africa but my favorite Pinot Noirs are being produced in Oregon.

Pinot Noirs are my preferred “red” at dinner parties because they are easy to drink and rich without being heavy and they have a velvety texture that women tend to like. Understanding that Pinot Noirs are beyond most people’s price range, when I find a great bottle under $30 I tell folks about them. Here are my favorite Pinot Noirs including a few that won’t break the bank.

Ken Wright Cellars ($40-100+)
Argyle Reserve 2007 ($40)
Benton Lane 2007 ($30)
Cloudline 2007 ($18)
Domaine Drouhin 2007 ($40)
Evesham Wood ($27)
Panther Creek Freedom Hill 2007 ($40)
Sanford La Rinconada 2007 ($55)

Food + Wine 1 Comment

One Response to “Swirl, Sniff, Sip: Oregon Pinot Noir”

  1. 1
    Cindy says:
    April 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Yolanda, this is a superb website. Your creative is excellent and content sure to interest readers of all kinds. A mutual friend turned me on to Pinot Noir and I love every drop. Regardless of price, each glass is a new experience.