2011 Portlandia Oregon Pinot Noir


2011 Portlandia Oregon Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir, Syrah
Willamette Valley/Rogue Valley, Oregon

This came in our wine.com monthly wine club shipment that relatives purchased for us. The wines have been consistently enjoyable and average about $20/bottle. For someone who is too particular about their wine purchases, it's nice to have a surprise each month.

I was skeptical from the beginning about this wine, largely a result of the name, Portlandia, and the MSNBC hipster glasses on the front label. This is a product of Portlandia Vintners, a sister label of a company that also produces the Mad Housewives and Besitos wines. I happily and often judge wines by their labels and as a result, I have avoided these labels at all costs.

This wine doesn’t do it for me. The $20/bottle category for Oregon pinot noir has become a crowded area of the market over the last few years, something I couldn’t be happier about, but this is nowhere near the top. Not only does it come nowhere near the soon-to-be reviewed 'Trisae' Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, there are a number of other wines I’ve had recently that are far above it in quality for the price: Illahe, Cooper Mountain, Cameron, amongst a number of others.

The wine is a bit strange out of the bottle. It's unfocused and confused, which may be a result of the unconventional blending of Rogue Valley syrah and Willamette Valley pinot noir. It softens nicely with an hour or two of air and is certainly drinkable. The classic Oregon pinot noir characteristics—balanced but plentiful acidity, bing cherry, tobacco, and a little earthiness—are all there but subdued. Mouthfeel is nice and the finish is medium length.

They take a stab at catering to the green-minded Oregon crowd by noting that the label is made from 100% recycled kraft paper. I’m not impressed, given there is no mention of post-consumer content and no mention of the vineyards it is sourced from. I tried to do some sleuthing online and I found some mention of Larkin Vineyards in the Van Duzer Corridor but the trail ended there. Bottom line: if you come across this and other Oregon pinot noir at a similar price point, avoid.