6 Oregon pinot noirs that stand out in a crowd


Have you ever been paralyzed with indecision by a store’s massive Oregon pinot noir section? I call it the “fog of noir.” With so many pinot options these days, ferreting out winners can be a daunting task.

That’s why I would like to draw your attention to six wines that deliver impressive quality for a fair price. If they are unfamiliar to you, make friends as soon as possible.

2018 Bow & Arrow Wines Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Scott Frank of Bow & Arrow is a winemaker, DJ and easily the best air guitarist to ever graduate from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Frank claims “drinkability” for his house style, and this $20 pinot noir proves he knows what he is doing.

This funky-earthy pinot emerges from Frank’s subterranean Northeast Portland winery to coat mouths everywhere with juicy black cherries, citrus, violets and thyme. The wine’s brisk acidity and firm tannins offer the best one-two punch this side of Dustin Poirier.

bowandarrowwines.com or scott@bowandarrowwines.com.

2018 Ansel Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

This wine has a secret.

I can tell you it is made by Graham Markel of Buona Notte Wines and experienced wine hand Jeremy Byrd. I can tell you they purchased barrels of pinot noir from a handful of well-known Willamette Valley wineries to make the Ansel. I can’t, however, tell you which wineries as Markel and Byrd are sworn to secrecy.

I discovered the excellent Ansel at Avalon Wine in Northeast Portland for $21.95. It smells like cherries and carnations, with a whiff of a grape popsicle in the background. Flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate and wild strawberries positively glide over taste buds like Yuzuru Hanyu on open ice.

The Ansel makes it way too easy to pour a second glass. If you do, make sure something from The Bar-Kays is on the turntable.

buonanottewines.com or 303-818-3525.

2017 Shiba Wichern Cellars Willamette Cuvée Pinot Noir

If you enjoy graceful, balanced wines, you need to get familiar with Akiko Shiba right quick.

Shiba’s Willamette Cuvée is a great place to begin. It’s an aromatic tour de force, starting with floral scents of white flowers and violets, followed by bursts of black cherries, cedar and fresh-pulled espresso shots. Tart cranberry flavors fill the mouth, along with traces of orange peel and portobello mushrooms. If you enjoy elevated acidity, this is a wine you need to try.

The Willamette Cuvée is available for $25 at the winery.

shibawicherncellars.com or 503-883-9142.

2018 Twill Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Twill Cellars is located within grape throwing distance of the Tualatin River. Their secluded West Linn location is where Molly and Darrel Roby, along with winemaker Chris Dickson, produce pinot noirs that deserve more attention.

Their entry-level pinot noir, for example, offers a lot of pinot flavor for a reasonable price. Its aromas of black cherries and…



Read More6 Oregon pinot noirs that stand out in a crowd

6 Oregon pinot noirs that stand out in a crowd


Have you ever been paralyzed with indecision by a store’s massive Oregon pinot noir section? I call it the “fog of noir.” With so many pinot options these days, ferreting out winners can be a daunting task.

That’s why I would like to draw your attention to six wines that deliver impressive quality for a fair price. If they are unfamiliar to you, make friends as soon as possible.

2018 Bow & Arrow Wines Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Scott Frank of Bow & Arrow is a winemaker, DJ and easily the best air guitarist to ever graduate from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Frank claims “drinkability” for his house style, and this $20 pinot noir proves he knows what he is doing.

This funky-earthy pinot emerges from Frank’s subterranean Northeast Portland winery to coat mouths everywhere with juicy black cherries, citrus, violets and thyme. The wine’s brisk acidity and firm tannins offer the best one-two punch this side of Dustin Poirier.

bowandarrowwines.com or scott@bowandarrowwines.com.

2018 Ansel Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

This wine has a secret.

I can tell you it is made by Graham Markel of Buona Notte Wines and experienced wine hand Jeremy Byrd. I can tell you they purchased barrels of pinot noir from a handful of well-known Willamette Valley wineries to make the Ansel. I can’t, however, tell you which wineries as Markel and Byrd are sworn to secrecy.

I discovered the excellent Ansel at Avalon Wine in Northeast Portland for $21.95. It smells like cherries and carnations, with a whiff of a grape popsicle in the background. Flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate and wild strawberries positively glide over taste buds like Yuzuru Hanyu on open ice.

The Ansel makes it way too easy to pour a second glass. If you do, make sure something from The Bar-Kays is on the turntable.

buonanottewines.com or 303-818-3525.

2017 Shiba Wichern Cellars Willamette Cuvée Pinot Noir

If you enjoy graceful, balanced wines, you need to get familiar with Akiko Shiba right quick.

Shiba’s Willamette Cuvée is a great place to begin. It’s an aromatic tour de force, starting with floral scents of white flowers and violets, followed by bursts of black cherries, cedar and fresh-pulled espresso shots. Tart cranberry flavors fill the mouth, along with traces of orange peel and portobello mushrooms. If you enjoy elevated acidity, this is a wine you need to try.

The Willamette Cuvée is available for $25 at the winery.

shibawicherncellars.com or 503-883-9142.

2018 Twill Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Twill Cellars is located within grape throwing distance of the Tualatin River. Their secluded West Linn location is where Molly and Darrel Roby, along with winemaker Chris Dickson, produce pinot noirs that deserve more attention.

Their entry-level pinot noir, for example, offers a lot of pinot flavor for a reasonable price. Its aromas of black cherries and…



Read More6 Oregon pinot noirs that stand out in a crowd