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.

Ana Diogo-Draper Amador Tempranillo 2017

*** My review and rating from

Love the label! Looks like Spanish/Portguese tiles.


“Was pretty skeptical of Tempranillo in the USA. Love the wines of Rioja and Toro. But figured that the winemaker would “pump up the volume” (like Americans are wont to do) on the wine and lose the typicity.

Instead, my wife and I both enjoyed it tremendously. Medium bodied, bright red fruit (imo a bit fruitier than the typical Spanish tempranillo but that’s just fine) and pretty classic tobacco aromas. Very smooth tannins too. 

Lovely wine enjoyed with portobello mushroom ‘steaks.'”

WineKnow Facts:

  • If it’s red and it’s from Spain, chances are that it’s made from Tempranillo grapes.
  • If it’s red and it’s from the Rioja, Ribero del Duero or Toro regions of Spain, it’s either 100% or mostly Tempranillo.
  • In Portugal, Tempranillo is called Tinta Roriz. It’s one of the primary reds of Portugal and one of three primary reds blended in Port
  • Tempranillo makes wines that are bright ruby (NOT dark purple/black), medium-weight and fairly fruity with high acidity. I think they taste similar to Chianti wines (which are made with Sangiovese grapes). However, I’d say that Chiantis tend to have a bit more tannins and have more of a cherry fruit flavors.