Wine Spectator, America’s most influential wine magazine, has just released its annual list of the world’s 100 best wines.
Considering that there are more than 65,000 wine producers producing more than 160,000 wines worldwide, making a list of the 100 best wines in the world is no small achievement.
The Oregon wine industry is growing rapidly and now has more than 900 wineries and 1,200 vineyards. Collectively, however, Oregon accounts for only 2% of global wine production, according to the Oregon Wine Board.
With six Wine Spectator Top 100 wines and a seventh on the Oregon-Washington border, Oregon wine producers are gaining more and more weight.
According to Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association:
There is no doubt that there is something special here in the Willamette Valley. This recognition is a clear reflection of the care and attention given by Oregon grape growers and winemakers from the vineyard to the bottle.
Tom Danowski, president of the Oregon Wine Board, a trade association that represents Oregon’s vineyard owners and winemakers, added:
This year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 list once again showcases the talents of Oregon’s grape growers and winemakers along with the true nature expressed in the fruit.
These selections of editors highlight the breadth and great diversity of our state’s excellence from west to northeast corner.
This recognition of the world’s most demanding authorities reflects Oregon’s obsession with wines of finesse, attention, and depth, as well as a promise that these wines will be better expressed over time.
The most valued wine in Oregon was No. 14 Alexana, 2018 Pinot Noir Dundee Hills, Revana Vineyard, $ 55. As in previous years, the Dundee Hills AVA dominated the outstanding Pinot Noir selection in Oregon.
The Wine Spectator he described it as follows:
Intense red … coiled with tension, offering dynamic flavors of raspberry and blueberry, with notes of spicy cinnamon and orange oil, built into medium-grained tannins.
Cayuse 2018, Syrah, Walla Walla Valley Cailloux Vineyard, $ 65, Ranked 19th, is an Oregon winery, despite its location in the Walla Walla Valley. The valley extends to Oregon, and Cayuse’s vineyards and production facilities are located in the Milton-Freewater area.
Syrah is not a grape variety associated with Oregon, but the variety is being grown extensively in southern Oregon and in the Columbia Valley and has begun to produce significant wines.
Wine Spectator he described the wine as follows:
A real syrah coupe, structured and refined but with a great personality, offering raspberries, garriga, warm warm stones and smoky cow tones.
No. 22, Arterberry Maresh, 2018 Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Old Vines, $ 39, is an extraordinary value among the best red wines in the world.
“Old Vines” is a relative term, especially in relatively new wine-producing regions like Dundee Hills. In this case, it refers to a block of grapes over 40 years old, whose grapes form the core of the wine.
This particular block of Maresh Vineyard is the fifth oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in the valley. They are ancient by Oregon standards.
Wine Spectator he described it as follows:
Structured but elegantly layered, this version offers beautiful accents of violet, raspberry and spice tea.
Evening Land Chardonnay, 2018, Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs, $ 35, Ranked 27th. Willamette Valley Chardonnay still surpasses the region’s excellent Pinot Noir offerings, but Chardonnay is rapidly emerging as the next world wine in Oregon. Evening Land has been one of the few producers to develop a unique Oregon-style Chardonnay.
Wine Spectator he described the wine as follows:
Strong and steel, with layers of lemon and lemon Meyer, which show wet stone accents to achieve a neat finish.
Zena Crown is a legendary Oregon winery whose grapes have been prized by eleven Oregon wineries. Owned by the Jackson Family Wines, since 2013, the 115-acre vineyard has become the center of a fast-growing Oregon wine empire for families.
Wine Spectator is classified Zena Crown Vineyard, 2017 Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills Slope, $ 75, No. 34, describing:
Elegant and fast-paced, but well-structured with elegant flavors of raspberries, minerals and spices that create richness and tension on the way to refined tannins.
No. 58, Chehalem, 2020 Chardonnay Willamette Valley Stainless Steel Unoaked, $ 20, Was the Oregon winery that secured a place in the 2021 Wine Spectator Top 100 wines.
Stainless steel is the French term for stainless steel. The term is used to describe wines that are stored / matured in a steel tank rather than oak barrels and are usually produced in a reductive style, a process that reduces the exposure of the wine to oxygen.
The reduction in winemaking is at the forefront of the current rage of Chardonnay winemakers and is at the heart of several attempts by producers in the Willamette Valley to create a distinctive Oregon Chardonnay style.
Along with widespread low-temperature fermentation, this approach could emerge as the next wave in Chardonnay winemaking and could very well be the basis for a distinctive “Oregon-style” Chardonnay.
These wines tend to be fresh and fruity, showing exotic and tropical fruits without a woody spice and with historically heavier / creamier malolactic notes associated with California / Australian-style Chardonnay high oak.
Wine Spectator Chehalem Chardonnay described it as follows:
The white bursts with the scents of peach blossom and lemon peel, taking on a lush juicy texture for a crunchy finish.
At $ 20, it’s a great wine and a great bargain.
Great strength, Syrah Red Mountain, $ 85 It has roots in both Oregon and Washington. Ranked 60th in the Wine Spectator Top 100, the fruit comes from a Red Mountain vineyard in Washington state, but makes wine at an Oregon winery.
Wine Spectator He described combining wine:
With physical power and smoothing, offering blackberries, crushed rock and vivid accents of pepper meat.
Most of these wines have production yields of between 500 and 1,000 cases. It’s hard to find and they’ll probably run out quickly as we get to know the news of being ranked in the Wine Spectator Top 100 better. If you want to taste them, it’s best to take them quickly.