Steve Spurrier in Oregon
Oregon was honored to receive wine industry legend Steven Spurrier as guest speaker this summer at the 33rd International Pinot Noir Celebration at Linfield College in McMinnville. Among the 2016 vintage Pinot Noirs he tasted, Nicolas-Jay's Willamette Valley was among the top.
These young (in Burgundian terms) vintages really impressed me. Being totally modern both in concept and fruit, they are miles away from the 1970s Eyrie Vineyards wines that put Oregon on the Pinot Noir map – but the fruit is from mostly organically farmed vineyards, giving each wine its own character. These wines are very site-specific, reminding me of Burgundy, which is probably why Burgundians are taking such an interest.
And it is not just the Pinots. At the IPNC lunches and dinners, a bevy of sommeliers served an amazing array of wines. I loved the Pinot Blancs, admired the Pinot Gris (particularly from King Estate) and was fascinated by the Rieslings, the Alexana Winery 2018 being Alsatian, the bone-dry Anam Cara Cellars 2015 pure Mosel.
From the Pinots, I had so many scores over 92 that it is hard to choose just five from the splendid 2016s, but here goes: Cristom, Jessie Vineyard; Elk Cove, Mount Richmond; Evesham Wood, Le Puits Sec; Nicolas-Jay, Willamette Valley; R Stuart & Co, Autograph.