The Seattle Times posted a list of under-$20 Oregon pinot noirs…have you tried any of them? The Erath was the vineyard I immediately recognized and was pleased to see an offering from my next door neighbor King Estate. A cash-strapped graduate student with a penchant for expensive wine hearts lists like this.
Westland 2008 Pinot Noir ($18). The second label of Methven Family Vineyards, this light, fresh pinot offers pretty scents of rose petals, cocoa and baking spices, with tart cranberry fruit.
Phelps Creek 2008 Le Petit Pinot Noir ($18). On the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge, Phelps Creek makes this soft and fruit-forward bottling. It’s scented with crushed strawberries and violets, with the fruity freshness of a good Beaujolais.
Erath 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir ($19). Widely available now that it is owned by Ste. Michelle, this is tight and herbal, with flavors of tart red berries, hints of citrus rind and fine balance.
Coeur de Terre 2007 Pinot Noir ($20). Soft and plush, with spicy cranberry and cola flavors. Forward, textured and very appealing.
Acrobat 2008 Pinot Noir ($20). Acrobat is a new label from King Estate. Cranberry, raspberry and black cherry fruit is backed with moderate tannins, baking chocolate, caramel and toasted hazelnuts.
Illahe 2007 Pinot Noir ($20). Forward and fruity, with a core of sweet cherry and raspberry. It’s round and ripe, very nicely balanced and supported with bracing acidity.
Carabella 2007 Plowbuster Pinot Noir ($20). Plowbuster is Carabella’s second label. Wild berries and cocoa powder, along with tannins tasting a bit like green tea.
Thistle 2006 Pinot Noir ($24). The one wine here that breaks the $20 barrier, this is still exceptionally fine for the price, several cuts above the other wines on this page. This is Oregon pinot at its best, with great purity of fruit, tremendous focus and concentration.