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Oregon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Oregon wine.


Bergström Dr Bergström Riesling 2007
Fermented with German yeasts, this has a beautifully clear and clean nose, with very fine aromatics, with just a touch of green, herbal character to zesty lemon and crisp apple fruit, but very crisp and lively. The palate has a lovely suggestion of sweet peachy fruit, but is absolutely riven with razor-sharp acidity. Glittering stuff. 92/100

Bergström Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir 2006
Cumberland is named after the Bergstrom family's home. 100% Pinot from every appellation in Oregon's northern Willamette: Josh says every soil type and clone found in Willamette makes it into this wine with fruit from 15 growers. 6,000 cases of this are made, which is over half of the entire annual production. Big, opulent nose, with lush berry flavours and plenty of tobacco and cedar, menthol. The palate has that same touch of cool, menthol flavour, and a nice spine of tight, quite grippy tannin. There's an edge of liquorice, and though the smoky, charry note of the finish adds depth, it remains fresh. 90/100

Bergström Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
From the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. One of Oregon's better-known vineyards, selling fruit to 22 wineries in Oregon and California. Plenty of animal and gamy, spicy tones here, with a lovely Burgundian feel. The mouthfeel is ripe and relatively soft for this big wine. The fruit is creamy and ripe, with lots of exuberant, dark fruit and chocolaty character. Stays fresh. 92/100

Bergström De Lancelotti Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Next two wines are estate wines, farmed by Josh and his crew Biodynamically using native yeasts. De Lancelotti is Josh's sister's vineyard, just behind the winery. Beautifully mellow, but aromatic and spicy, with nutmeg and tobacco notes, and a plush fruit character that is just touched by a little herbal note. Complex nose. The palate has dark fruit, with cherry and racy, star anise spice, and that freshness of natural acidity, harvested with high, Burgundian levels of acid even in this hot year. 93/100

Bergström Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
15 acres of Pinot in the Dundee Hills, from volcanic red soils. There is a mineral, ferrous quality, in a much more subtle nose (Josh says needs three years in bottle to really show). Lovely delicate notes of vanilla and some undergrowth and truffle. Again, very fresh. The palate has a lovely edge of freshness, with very racy acidity and a really tight, sharp spine of tannin set against tangy cherry and plum-skin fruit. Has weight and texture, but extremely Burgundian and complex. 94/100

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