Oregon’s 50 Best Wines of 2016

In our largest blind tasting ever, 12 of Portland’s smartest wine experts check out more than 1,200 bottles to discover the state’s standouts.

Edited by Allison Jones September 13, 2016 Published in the October 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

1. St. Innocent Winery 

2013 Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir. 
McMinnville, $36
Strawberry and raspberry. Nuanced. Delicate. Cellar this—with time, it will be swoon-worthy. Pair with: a cheese plate anchored by burrata

2. Iota Cellars 

2013 Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir. 
Eola–Amity Hills, $40
Straight outta Burgundy. Watermelon and fennel. French toast with a touch of cloves. Pair with: braised pork shoulder

3. Duck Pond Cellars 

2015 St. Jory Vineyard Pinot Gris. 
Willamette Valley, $18
The pinnacle of pinot gris. Fresh, lively, and juicy. Like drinking lemonade on the patio. Pair with: oysters or beet salad with goat cheese

4. St. Innocent Winery

2013 Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Eola–Amity Hills, $42
Like a Burgundian table wine. Full of floral spice. Wet stone and great grip. Pair with: braised beef, on your birthday

5. Utopia Vineyard

2013 Utopia Estate Chardonnay.
Ribbon Ridge, $42
Honeysuckle. Feminine. Lush. Meyer lemon. Silky, sweet cream. Pair with: poached shellfish

“Think you don’t like chardonnay? Try this. You could sit there and bury yourself in this wine.”
Anne Scalamonti, front-of-house manager and wine buyer at Departure Restaurant and Lounge

6. Montinore Estate

2013 Parsons’ Ridge Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $45
The darker side of pinot. Sage, cedar, coffee, and tobacco. Pair with: pork cheeks

7. J. Scott Cellars

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Columbia Valley, Oregon, $35
A speed racer. Black currant. Joyful and sexy. Fruity without being jammy. A “Mediterranean diet” wine: nibble and drink, nibble and drink. Pair with: a mezze platter

8. Et Fille Wines

2013 Heredity Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $34
Brandied cherries. Spring herb garden. Clean mushrooms. Violets. Pair with: steak tartare

9. Furioso Vineyards

2014 L’Altra Linea Furioso Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $45
Toasted brown bread. Nutmeg and the rest of the baking spice drawer. Salted caramel. Pair with: deep conversations

10. Statera Cellars

2014 Corral Creek Vineyard Chardonnay.
Chehalem Mountains, $35
Mango. Green apple. Cool, fruity, and funky—with a wild streak. A modern New World wine, not trying to be Old World. Pair with: fish tacos with grilled pineapple

11. Björnson Vineyard

2013 Edward Pinot Noir.
Eola-Amity Hills, $40
Black tea and black olives. Herbaceous and complex. Pair with: osso buco

12. David Hill Vineyards & Winery

2015 Estate Gewürztraminer.
Willamette Valley, $18
Rose petals. Lychee. Classic, approachable. Aromatic without being perfumey. Pair with: Thai food

“Spice and floral notes with tropical aromatics and crystalline purity make it a really appealing gewürztraminer. Pair this with PaaDee’s chicken wings.”Ksandek Podbielski, co-owner and wine director of Coquine

13. Willamette Valley Vineyards

2014 Estate Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $30
Inky dark. Plums and Chinese five spice. Shiitake mushrooms with soy. Pair with: Szechuan-style chicken

14. Beaux Frères

2013 Chardonnay.
Yamhill-Carlton, $75
Yellow apples. Elegant. Muscular and rich, weighty without being heavy. Pair with: weeknight roast chicken

“This is for lovers of California white wines—a gateway drug to well-made Oregon-style chardonnay.” Thomas Hebenstreit, wine director of Imperial and Headwaters

15. Coeur de Terre Vineyard

2013 Tallulah’s Run Reserve Pinot Noir.
McMinnville, $65
Plums with cinnamon. Cola. Eucalyptus. Mint. Black earth. Pair with: Thanksgiving turkey 

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Image: Erin Lux

16. Seven of Hearts

2013 Rattlesnake Road Vineyard Tannat.
Columbia Valley, $29
Marionberry and plums. The bigness of cabernet sauvignon with the finesse of cabernet franc. Suave, broody, and inviting. Pair with: smoked meats and a cigar

17. Luminous Hills

2014 Estate Pinot Noir.
Yamhill-Carlton, $35
Structured, spicy, and deep. Hibiscus and dark blackberry. Musky and heavy. Pair with: roasted duck

18. Timothy Malone Wines

2015 Medici Vineyard Riesling.
Chehalem Mountains, $18
A pleasing balance of acid and sweet. Wet stone. Germanic style. Pair with: salty hard cheese and charcuterie 19.

19. Tyee Wine Cellars

2014 Estate Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $28
Strawberry jam. Prawn shells. Black olives. Licorice. Peppery nasturtium leaves. Pair with: roast chicken and artichokes

20. Maison Roy & Fils

2013 Petite Incline Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $35
Mossy earth. Plum sorbet. Campfire smoke. Pair with: s’mores, tent-side

21. Cowhorn Vineyard

2014 Marsanne Roussanne.
Applegate Valley, $35
A sweater-weather white. Ripe pear and apple. Pleasing nuttiness with bright acid. Pair with: roasted pork with saffron

22. Merriman Wines

2013 Estate Pinot Noir.
Yamhill-Carlton, $40
Hibiscus flowers. Cranberry and black cherry. Coastal air, briny and bright. Pair with: Dungeness crab

23. Division Winemaking Company

2015 Division-Villages Les Petits Fers Gamay Noir.
Willamette Valley and Umpqua Valley, $22
Savory strawberry and bold black pepper. Buoyant and balanced. Pair with: braised beef and roasted squash

24. Longplay Wine

2013 Lucky 13 Pinot Noir.
Chehalem Mountains, $42
Spicy. Hitchcock films. Rosehips and tobacco. Makeout wine. Pair with: duck fried rice

25. Bethel Heights

2014 Casteel Chardonnay.
Amity Hills, $75 
Minerality and spice. Hint of vanilla. Pair with: anything creamy and rich at St. Jack

26. de Lancellotti Family Vineyards

2014 Famiglia Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $40
Floral. Strawberry cotton candy. Wet earth. Butterscotch. Pair with: barbecue burnt ends

27. Maison Roy & Fils

2013 Incline Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $58
Clean and friendly. Ripe strawberry and tart cherry. Wet hay. Age-worthy. Pair with: grilled salmon

28. Franchere Wine Company

2014 Havlin Vineyard Grüner Veltliner.
Willamette Valley, $18
Pluots. Cardamom. Ginger skin. White soy sauce. Pour for: lovers of fino sherry

“This is great for people interested in trying something a little more experimental and esoteric.”
Jessica Hereth, wine director of Olympia Provisions

29. Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards

2014 Reserve Pinot Gris.
Willamette Valley, $28
Farmyard flowers in the rain. Creamy lemon brioche. Bitter almond on the finish. Pair with: pizza bianca

30. Domaine Drouhin Oregon

2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir.
Dundee Hills, $45
Graham cracker. Cherry cola. White pepper. Pair with: pork and mushrooms

31. Holden Wine Company

2014 Dolcetto.
Willamette Valley, $23
Tart cherry and violets. Balanced aromatics: fruit, floral, wood. Pair with: prosciutto and peppered salami 

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Image: Erin Lux

32. Willamette Valley Vineyards

2014 Estate Chardonnay.
Willamette Valley,
Caramel apple saltwater taffy. Creamy with ripping acidity. Vanilla and white flowers with an underlying salinity. Pair with: oyster

33. Love & Squalor

2013 Riesling. 
Willamette Valley, $20
Grapefruit zest and crabapple. Mouth-watering acidity that makes your mouth pop. Earthy. Textural and aggressive. Pair with: choucroute garnie

34. Cana’s Feast

2015 Redman Vineyard Arneis.
Ribbon Ridge, $20
Green apple. Quietly floral. Everyday, summery wine. Flinty, like shattered rock dust. Pair with: linguine and clams with a caprese salad 

35. Winter’s Hill Vineyard

2013 Block 10 Pinot Noir.
Dundee Hills, $49
Savory. Bay leaf and tomato. Lime zest and green pepper. Suede. A love-it-or-hate-it wine. Pair with: Tuesday-night pizza 

36. Trisaetum Winery

2015 Pinot Noir Rosé.
Willamette Valley, $24
Gulpable. Cranberry apple cocktail. A rosé with dreams of being a red wine. Serve it cold and chug it. Pair with: fried chicken 

37. Cowhorn Vineyard

2014 Viognier.
Applegate Valley, $35
Jasmine-flavored Shock Tarts. Orange blossoms. Spicy and floral. Full of personality. Pair with: crab cakes with aioli

38. Day Wines

2014 Cancilla Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Willamette Valley, $40
Black tea and black cherry. Dr. Pepper. Fish sauce and seaweed. Pair with: Pad see ew

39. Longplay Wine

2015 Distortion Pinot Noir Rosé.
Chehalem Mountains, $20
Strawberries. Dusty rose petals. Prickly acidity. Pair with: porchetta sandwiches 

40. Statera Cellars

2014 Johan Vineyard Chardonnay.
Willamette Valley, $35
A Netflix-and-chill wine. Wet rocks behind a waterfall. Tart lemon. Clean and refreshing. Pair with: Game of Thrones 

41. Viola Wine Cellars

2014 Dugger Creek Vineyard Barbera in Barrique.
Walla Walla Valley (Oregon), $32
Succulent and savory. Red berries and soft herbs. Pipe tobacco. Made for year-round drinking. Pair with: your Friendsgiving potluck

42. Elk Cove Vineyards

2014 Mount Richmond Pinot Noir.
Yamhill-Carlton, $60
Plum and nectarine. Black cherry. Big and robust. Pair with: grass-fed-beef burgers 

43. Coeur de Terre Vineyard

2015 Rustique Rosé.
McMinnville, $21
Delicately savory. Salted watermelon. Barbecue ready. Pair with: ribs and watermelon feta salad 

44. Ore Winery

2014 Griffin Creek
Vineyard Sangiovese. Rogue Valley, $28
Inky and mercurial. Steak-house wine. Bravado. Tart red fruit and spice. Pair with: black pepper steak

45. Maison Roy & Fils

2014 Petite Incline Pinot Noir.
WillametteValley, $35
Pitch-black, ripe black currants and blackberries. A big red lover’s pinot—the new ‘Welcome to Oregon’ wine. Pair with: dark chocolate 

46. Clay Pigeon Winery

2015 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris.
Dundee Hills, $19
Green apple, with a touch of sweetness. A wine geek’s pinot gris with a nod to the Alsatian style. Pair with: Thanksgiving’s first courses

47. Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards

2013 Timnah Bloc Prayer Rock Vineyard Tempranillo.
Umpqua Valley, $29
Long and strong. Keeps you coming back. Pair with: late-summer barbecue

48. Woven Wineworks

2014 No. 4 Covey Ridge Vineyard Pinot Gris.
Willamette Valley, $20
Grapefruit. Mild citrus. Nutty richness. Pair with: picnic in the park with friends

49. Franchere Wine Company

2014 Havlin Vineyard Syrah.
Willamette Valley, $24
Bright, dark fruit. Tart acidity. Leather. Earth. Pair with: lamb gyros

50. Rock Point Wines

2014 River Rock White.
Rogue Valley, $11
Roses and hops. Ocean air with a touch of sweetness. Drink on a hot day. Pair with: an ice cube

This Year’s Tasting Panel

Anne Scalamonti (Departure), Valerie Carrasco (La Moule), Colin Howard (Oso Market), Salvador Bethencourt (Roe), Ksandek Podbielski (Coquine), Carrie Wynkoop (Cellar 503), Drew Duggan (Andina), Cana Flug (Besaw’s), Brent Braun (Castagna), Lynn Helmel (Irving Street Kitchen), Thomas Hebenstreit (Imperial & Headwaters), Jessica Hereth (Olympia Provisions)

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