• Two Thumbs Way Up
• A fair amount of red berry and floral notes with just noticeable earthy/tobacco notes. Bright, tart flavors of raspberry, blueberry, red apple skin and a leather quality. Flavors round out nicely after opened for a couple hours.
I love and loathe Oregon pinot noirs.
I love them because, on par, they are delicious and tantalizing, filled with surprising nuances that change every vintage. Real wine buff stuff. I’m also proud that Oregon winemakers have maintained a well-earned reputation for quality above all else that is respected around the world and Oregon producers are quite content to make wines in relatively miniscule quantities.
I am loathe to recommend many Oregon pinot noirs because they are a study in frustration for regular wine drinkers. “Miniscule quantities” is economics lingo for high-priced and hard-to-find. In addition, the most ethereal wines from the Beaver State can only be found on wine lists at better restaurants, although superior wine shops will offer the Penner-Ashes, Archery Summits and Bergströms (one of my faves). Your Krogers/Publixes will not offer many or any of these “OMG” wines.
Here’s the real kicker as a wine recommender: The average wine drinker won’t “get it” when it comes to Oregon pinots. There is something satisfying when anyone pays $65 for a California cab that’s big, meaty and powerful—even if you can’t quite tease out the wine’s finer qualities. For many, an $18 glass of Oregon pinot is going taste like plain ol’ wine, which will leave regular wine drinkers with that bitter I’ve-been-ripped-off aftertaste.
So, along comes Acrobat from Oregon’s King Estate. They made 18,500 cases, so you may find a bottle in your favorite grocer’s wine aisle. It comes in a screw top, which will show many folks that “crummy” and “screw-topped wine” don’t necessarily belong in the same sentence. It’s 18 bucks. Best of all, you do get a hint of what wine nerds are talking about when they wax poetically about Oregon pinots.
Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators and teaches in-home wine classes. You can reach him at Gil.Kulers@WineKulers.com.
(Wines are rated on a scale ranging up from thumbs down, one thumb mostly up, one thumb up, two thumbs up, two thumbs way up and Golden Thumb Award. Prices are suggested retail prices as provided by the winery, one of its agents, a local distributor or retailer.)