Can OR Pinot Noir Age? Yup!

My wine collection is part investment, part experiment.

I want to understand HOW wines age by tasting them AS they age.

For more than a decade, I bought wine online (from big retailers or direct from the wineries) and stored them at a facility in Portland, Oregon. For years and years and years, I only made deposits – never withdrawals. Why? Because I was living in Asia. Shipment costs, questionable storage/transport and import tariffs on alcohol all made unfeasible for me to taste these wines I’d been buying.

In late 2018, I moved back to the USA (after 20 years in Asia!) and immediately started the experiment. I’ve got a LOT of Oregon Pinot Noir’s from 2008 and up. Do they age well? Or does the more fruit-forward style doom them to mediocrity with the passage of time?

Based on my experience so far, I can say the following with confidence: the best OR Pinot Noirs taste phenomenal, even a decade later. First, I tried two 2008 pinots side by side: the Beaux Freres Vineyard and an Archery Summit. Both are critically acclaimed wineries but the BF was my BFF. Later, when I briefly discussed my experiment with Roland Solles (winemaker at Argyle and ROCO), he smiled knowingly. (I’ve got some old ROCO somewhere in the pile of boxes so I can’t wait to see how Mr. Solles’ wines fared!)

Today, I’m trying the 2012 Walter Scott Cuvee Ruth from the Willamette Valley (13.6% ABV). Still medium purple in color, the wine smells fresh – crushed cherries and that telltale mustiness and earthiness of aged Pinot Noir. In the mouth, it feels light, with a tantalizing acidity. I bought 4 bottles of this upon release at US$30/bottle.

It’s very enjoyable. The length is provided by the cherries and the tongue-tingle. Considering the price and its age, it tastes fantastic.

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