Showcasing the best of
northwest wines and
the awareness of pacific
northwest wine regions.
Showcasing the best of northwest
wines and the awareness of pacific
northwest wine regions.
Savor Northwest's Top Pinot Noirs in 2021

Savor Northwest's Top Pinot Noirs in 2021

Nine Oregon Pinot Noirs scored 93 Points or better at the 2021 Savor Northwest Wine Awards, topping a list of 28 Northwest Pinot Noirs that claimed Gold Medals at the annual competition. The top wines represented both some of Oregon's best-known wineries and some lesser-known and small-scale producers.

All wines at the Savor Northwest competition are tasted blind by panels of three wine industry professional and when all 28 Gold Medal winning Pinots were tasted a second time side-by-side, a consensus of the competition's judges rated the King Estate 2018 Pinot Noir the best Pinot Noir in the 2021 competition.

Three of the Gold Medal winning wines came from Salem area’s Druvor Hill who claimed Gold Medals for three of their bottlings. Wineries who claimed two Gold Medals for different bottlings include Chris James Cellars, Vino Vasai and Willamette Valley Vineyards with each placing one wine on our list of the top nine wines. Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard also claimed two Gold Medals.

Out of the 28 Gold Medals, 19 wines came from the stellar 2018 vintage and 26 were from Willamette Valley wineries. One Southern Oregon Pinot earned a Gold Medal for Roseburg’s Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards and Whidbey Island Washington's Spoiled Dog Winery scored the only Gold Medal for a Pinot outside of Oregon.

Here is a list and are tasting notes for the top nine wines in the competition:

King Estate Winery 2018 Pinot Noir | $29, 96 Points
This wine is a blend of Pinot Noir from several Willamette Valley vineyards. On the nose, jammy red fruit mixes with notes of baking spice, cigar box, light florals and aromatic dried herbs. Beautifully structured on the palate, it opens with bright flavors of tart cherry and raspberry that mix with notes of cola on an extended mid-palate before tannins deliver a dry balanced finish of earth and mineral.

Bluebird Hill Cellars 2018 South Block Reserve Pinot Noir | $49, 96 Points
This wine will speak to those who prefer Pinot done in a bigger style with bold aromatics. Aromas of dark fruit allude to rich plum sauce with prominent notes of Allspice and floral hints of dried herbs. On the palate, it delivers flavors of red cherry that mix nicely with notes of cola on an extensive mid-palate with lingering acidity leading to a lengthy finish carrying a lovely earthiness with lightly textured notes of cocoa.

Bennett Vineyards & Wine Company 2018 Reserve Pinot Noir | $40, 95 Points
Bright red fruit and earth are trademarks of Oregon Pinot Noir and this one delivers a beautiful balance of these. Tart cherry and cranberry flavors are upfront, met with earthy notes of toasty espresso, a rocky minerality and lively hints of baking spices on the polished finish. Prominent herbal and floral aromas allude to pitchy forest floor mixing with subtle hints of red berries. Expect this to be a stellar wine to pair with many foods ranging from duck and turkey to mushroom sauces and bacon.

LaVelle Vineyards 2016 Matthew's Reserve Pinot Noir | $50, 95 Points
This wine from Willamette Valley's LaVelle Vineyards spent two years in oak barrels to reach a bold mix of fruit and spice. It entices you with forward aromas of Allspice that wrap around rich red fruits and hints of pine pitch and dried herbs. On the palate, flavors of cherry and tart red berries mix with notes of cocoa before nicely structured tannins deliver a spicy dry finish with a hints of cinnamon-candied orange peel.

Pudding River Wine Cellars 2016 Estate Pinot Noir | $30, 95 Points
An early budbreak and harvest at Salem Oregon's Pudding River estate in 2016 has resulted in a robust style Pinot Noir that delivers red fruit with some delightful layers. On the nose, vibrant aromas of fresh raspberries mix with notes of cinnamon-clove potpourri; and on the palate, it delivers flavors of macerated cherries that are nicely balanced with a prominent spiciness and soft notes of cocoa emerging on the mid-palate with spice and acidity lingering through the finish.

Vino Vasai 2018 Barrel 17 Select Pinot Noir | $45, 95 Points
This barrel select blend of Pinot Noir from Newberg Oregon's Potter's Vineyard is richly aromatic with spicy notes of Allspice and black pepper that combine with hints of pine pitch and dried herbs to wrap around aromas of dried cherry. On the palate, brightly balanced flavors of cherry deliver both acidity and a rich ripeness that lingers before fading to reveal earthy notes, a dusting of peppery spice and a hint of orange zest.

Knudsen Vineyards 2018 Pinot Noir | $55, 94 Points
This offering from one of Oregon's first families of winemaking presents enticing aromas of dried cherry that mix with lovely notes of cinnamon-clove potpourri, candied orange peel and sweet tobacco. On the palate, it delivers a burst of rich cherry that mingles with notes of Allspice through an extensive mid-palate, finishing with lightly textured hints of cocoa that linger on nicely structured acidity.

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2017 Signature Cuvee Pinot Noir | $65, 94 Points
This Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir is a blend of the finest barrels sourced from Willamette Valley Vineyard's Estate, Elton and Tualatin Estate Vineyards. On the palate, bright acidity alluding to tart cherry and cranberry meet a beautiful earthy mid-palate with notes of spice, cocoa and clay dust with lingering tart fruit throughout a finessed finish. On the nose, lovely floral, herbal and baking spice aromas mix with notes of mixed berries.

Chris James Cellars 2018 Pinot Noir |$24, 93 Points
This wine invites you in with bold aromas that allude to dried cherry, vanilla and a rose petal-clove potpourri. On the palate, rich cherry and baking spice find a nice balance upfront with acids that build and structured tannins that carry earthy notes of cocoa through an uplifting finish with a hint of orange zest.

The remaining Gold Medal winners for 2021 include:

Aurora Colony Vineyards 2018 Mt. Mazama Pinot Noir; $44, 90 Points
Authentique 2017 The Corridor Pinot Noir; $42, 91 Points
Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard 2018 Pinot Noir La Colina Vineyard; $45, 91 Points
Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard 2018 Pinot Noir Beacon Hill Vineyard; $45, 91 Points
Blakeslee Vineyard Estate 2016 Estate Pinot Noir; $42, 92 Points
Chris James Cellars 2018 Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills; $38, 92 Points
Dowsett Family Winery 2018 Pinot Noir Becklin Vineyards; $37, 91 Points
Druvor Hill 2018 Pinot Noir Wadenswil; $35, 91 Points
Druvor Hill 2018 Pinot Noir; $30, 90 Points
Druvor Hill 2018 Cotore Field Blend Pinot Noir; $40, 92 Points
Freja Cellars 2014 Winemaker's Reserve Pinot Noir; $50, 91 Points
Lady Hill Winery 2019 Pinot Noir; $38, 91 Points
Lazy River Vineyard 2018 Pinot Noir; $42, 91 Points
Lumos Wine Co. 2017 Temperance Hill Pinot Noir; $45, 90 Points
Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2018 Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley, $36, 91 Points
Spoiled Dog Winery 2018 Estate Pinot Noir, Puget Sound; $38, 91 Points
Stone Griffon Vineyard 2016 Jill Marie Estate Pinot Noir; $29, 91 Points
Vino Vasai 2018 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir; $55, 90 Points
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2018 Bernau Block Pinot Noir; $65, 92 Points