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REVIEWS: Oregon’s Greatest Pinot Noirs for $30 and Under


A companion to our feature article, “America’s Greatest Pinot Noirs for $30 and Under | OREGON EDITION.”

We’re searching for America’s best and affordable Pinot Noirs, and started our search in Oregon. We found 26 that we love and recommend wholeheartedly. 

Here’s our list, and reviews of each wine follow, below. Cheers! 




Anne Amie Two Estates Pinot Noir 2014 

Willamette Valley | $30 | 92 pts

Shockingly great for the price. Poignant acidity, silkiness and exquisite balance make for a wine of beauty and sophistication that speaks eloquently of its place—not to mention how delicious it is. A nose of spice and rose make way for dark cherry, cola and plum flavors rendered with precise tannins, then finishing on a note of distinct minerality.   winery   search

Anne Amie Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley | $28 | 90 pts

Young, sweet and feminine, a Pinot full of innocence and joie de vivre. Delightful acidity and brilliant, fresh berry flavors keep it lively and life-affirming. Gentle on the palate, it has a delicate side too. Multi-faceted notes of rose, strawberry preserves, dark sweet cherries and cardamom—a delight.   winery   search


Battle Creek “Unconditional” Pinot Noir 2015 

Oregon | $19 | 89 pts

A smoky, robust Pinot that’s unconditionally and unapologetically big and rather intense. Immediately, the wine’s dark, foreboding nose of Bing cherry, blackberry, tobacco leaf and dark spices clues you in. You’re usually paying a lot more for this level of weightiness and balanced richness. Well crafted, and exceptional value.   distributor   search


Besadien Pinot Noir 2014 

Willamette Valley | $24 | 90 pts

Mellow and serene, medium-bodied and supple, this is a Pinot awash in primary colors. Flavors of ripe red cherry and raspberry, along with red licorice, and grounded by black tea and cocoa notes. There’s a rustic and dusty quality to the tannins, displaying the underlying rugged character of true Oregon.   distributor   search


Brandborg Bench Lands Pinot Noir 2014 

Umpqua Valley | $22 | 91 pts

From a lesser-known region in southern Oregon blessed with distinct microclimates comes a deeply expressive, vibrant, structured and savory Pinot that might have you thinking you’re drinking a Sonoma blend that retails for double the price. A smoky, peppery quality provides an accent to rich notes of strawberry jam and bright, young cherry.   winery   search


Brooks Runaway Red Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley | Biodynamic/Organic | $23 | 90 pts

A Pinot of contagious energy and verve, thanks to its brilliant acidity—this is a delightfully bright and uplifting expression of the varietal, made in a distinctively contemporary style. Emphasis of flavor profile here is red fruit (red plum, especially), with notes of cherry coke and Mediterranean herbs.   winery   search 


Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 

Willamette Valley | $30 | 92 pts

A rich bouquet of red currant, young blackberry and violets transforms into something sumptuous, deep and complex on the palate. The wine feels luxurious and tastes absolutely delicious. 100% estate fruit from three vineyards—this is a showcase for the high class art of the blend, as well as a wonderful expression of the vintage, from one of the most respected names in Oregon. Bravo!   winery   search


Cloudline Pinot Noir 2015 

Willamette Valley | $18 | 91 pts

From the esteemed house of Drouhin, an excellent representation of the Burgundy-in-Oregon zeitgeist. On the lighter side, and polished, bright, tasty and attractive, with pristine structure—plus effusive notes of ripe red cherry, tart raspberry and dried red flowers—this is Pinot distinguished by its French influence. Not to mention killer value.   distributor   search


Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir 2015 

Willamette Valley | $30 | 93 pts

More than 20 vintages in, this Oregon classic shines brightly as ever. In the bottle, there’s that quintessential Oregon elegance, artisanal purity and integrity, exceptional balance, beautiful quality of fruit and terroir-driven expression. From the get-go, the lovely bouquet of red cherries, sweet strawberries and fresh cut roses pulls you into a Pinot that’s seductively delicious.   winery   search


David Hill Estate Pinot Noir 2014 

Forest Grove | $24 | 91 pts

This is a farmer’s Pinot, true and true. There’s a rusticity, authenticity, density and expressiveness that’s undoubtedly a product of the estate’s terroir—a wine full of character and possessing a singular quality. Earthy, balanced dark and red berry flavors are rich, brightened with a note of pomegranate. A natural, wild quality begs for pairing with wild game.   winery   search


Erath Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 

Oregon | $19 | 90 pts

There’s a reason why this Pinot has remained a standard-bearer for Oregon Pinot. For the price, it hits all the marks—flavor, smooth texture, drinkability and balance. In 2015, an early harvest for the region, the wine’s flavor profile casts a wide net: earthiness, savory baking spice, and vibrant, ripe strawberry and raspberry. Super solid Pinot, and its popularity well-earned.   winery   search


Gothic Nevermore Pinot Noir 2014 

Yamhill-Carlton | $24 | 91-92 pts

Succulent purple fruit and ripe dark cherry and red currant flavors burst onto the palate… mouthfeel is broad and mellow but not in a flabby way—in fact, there’s considerable brawn to this Pinot. Peppery and black tea notes add an air of dark mystery to what is a deeply satisfying, crowd-pleasingly delicious wine.   winery   search


The Grape Republic Pinot Noir 2014 

Willamette Valley | $24 | 90 pts

From Lachini Vineyards comes a “village” blend that’s probably everyone’s idea of what Pinot Noir should be. It’s all there: a nose of strawberry jam, fresh raspberry and dried rose petal—solid structure to support the wine’s ripe, fruit-forward profile—silky tannins—nice balance—and a restrained winemaker’s touch. Geared for modern palates, so drink now.   winery   search


Johan Estate Pinot Noir 2014 

Willamette Valley | Biodynamic/Organic | $29 | 93 pts

Exquisite wine. Deeply expressive and complex terroir-driven Pinot, with lots of character, purity and exceptional balance. A piquant nose of wild red and black berries and rose petal also has a salinity and stoniness that’s redolent of hillside Rhone reds. Texture cottony soft, sterling structure, fruit so fresh and poignant—emanates authenticity and vivid sense of place.   winery   search


Left Coast “Cali’s Cuvee” Estate Pinot Noir 2015 

Willamette Valley | $24 | 91-92 pts

With a personality that’s irresistible, good luck resisting taking another sip. Very fresh, delectable Bing cherry, ripe plum and blueberry flavors are accompanied by fine tannins, a hint of minerality and clean structure. There’s a fascinating note of chalkiness on the lengthy, delicate finish… so, you get complexity too? Stop it.   winery   search


Oak Knoll Dion Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 

Willamette Valley | Organic | $26 | 91 pts

Unheard of, that a single-vineyard Pinot at this price would be this expressive. Super solid on all fronts—balance, texture, structure. Very nice, Burgundian-style level of acidity makes it such a terrific food wine. Fruit character is fresh and pure, and the palate finds engaging notes of strawberry and raspberry compote, Bergamot tea and medium-toasted oak.   winery   search


Pike Road Pinot Noir – Black Label 2015 

Willamette Valley | $20 | 91 pts

Such a pretty Pinot from the offshoot wine label of Oregon’s acclaimed Elk Cove Vineyards. Soft, gentle tannins, quiet elegance, exceptional fruit quality and a bright personality are the hallmarks of a wine that lingers in the memory, affectionately. This is one for case-buyers, as developing nuances will be fascinating for many years to come.   winery 


Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir 2015 

Willamette Valley | $27 | 91-92 pts

Lovely, and a treat for the senses. Rich and supple with voluminous notes of blueberry and Bing cherry, as well as the slightly sweet flavor of blackberry jam, and finishing with a dash of peppercorn. An exceedingly well balanced Pinot—the strong lineage and history of this founding Oregon winery clearly showing through with grace.   winery   search  


Primarius Pinot Noir 2014 

Dundee | $17 | 89 pts

A nose of bright red cherry, pomegranate and allspice provides an enthusiastic introduction to a most easygoing, approachable and flavorful Pinot without a rough edge to it. Pleasing, attractive and bright, its charming personality makes for good company along with good company. The kind of exceptional value you’ll only find in Oregon.   distributor   search

Primarius Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Dundee | $22 | 90 pts

A Pinot with a surpassing level of seriousness considering its price. Juicy and balanced, the wine finds a desirable middle-ground between robust flavor and restrained elegance. Dark-toned and earthy, notes of dark cherry, oak and violets—and an interesting note of sarsaparilla. A reserve wine that’s enjoyable and approachable for drinking now.   distributor 


R. Stuart & Co. Big Fire Pinot Noir 2014

Willamette Valley | $19 | 89 pts

The Big Fire is actually an easygoing and cheerful kind of Pinot, with a light & breezy quality that makes it an easy choice for entertaining at home or a Friday night out after putting in the workweek. Notes of caramelized cherry and cranberry, nutmeg, cinnamon, almonds and subtle note of cocoa. A mood elevator. Happy Pinot.   winery   search


Silvan Ridge Pinot Noir 2014 

Willamette Valley | $26 | 90 pts

A distinctive Pinot from one of the oldest wineries in the state. Bright fresh strawberry, dark raspberry and young plum notes, an undercurrent of espresso beans, and scorched earth tannins. Meanwhile, the wine’s tart and assertive fruit profile shimmers with considerable elegance and character.   winery   search


Stangeland Eola Hills Cuvee Pinot Noir 2015 

Eola-Amity | $25 | 91 pts

Eola is one of the cooler parts of the Willamette, and the voluptuous fruit character and aging potential of this Pinot speaks strongly of its place. A nose of white pepper, red currant and dark raspberry turns into succulent red fruit flavors on the palate, finishing long and expressive. Delicious and attractive, it’s all about the fruit.   winery   search

Stangeland Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2013

Willamette Valley | $30 | 92 pts

While medium-bodied and soft & silky on the palate, there’s a forcefulness of flavor and elegant power that catches one off-guard. That dichotomy of soft yet rich and powerful is a rare achievement in Pinot, making this one a standout. Distinct notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, red cherry and orange spice.   winery 

Stangeland Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley | $30 | 90-91 pts

Quite the intense, masculine and commanding Pinot—with a rustic, smoky and spicy character. Dark strawberry and Bing cherry flavors dominate, offset by nice acidity and then finishing on strong tannins. Still a baby, and you can expect this to deepen in its expressiveness over time.   winery 


Walnut City Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 

Willamette Valley | $20 | 91 pts

A rich, heady nose of dark, brambly fruit signals a wine to come that’s weighty and deep—serious yet uplifting. One can get quite enthralled with the deep flavors of ripe strawberry, coffee and allspice. Contemporary in style, there’s a cerebral quality to this Pinot that makes it a great pairing with an artsy novel or indie film.   winery   search 

See Related ArticleAmerica’s Greatest Pinot Noirs for $30 and Under | OREGON EDITION

November 8, 2017