- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Torri Mor, Pinot Noir, Oregon, 2001, $18

Here’s an elegant but sumptuous wine that I missed when reviewing Oregon pinot noirs in these pages last month. Don’t make the same mistake.

Produced in small volume, it exhibits the nuanced fruit flavors and silky texture that distinguish the best Oregon pinots. Though you may have to place a special order at your favorite wine shop, the wine is well worth the trouble.

Unlike all but a handful of California pinots, top Oregon renditions of this most finicky varietal are marked by grace and delicacy rather than power and weight. One reason is climate. During Oregon’s cool growing season, the grapes struggle to ripen, so the wines rarely taste extracted, heavy or hot. When they do disappoint, they tend to seem thin or slight, the explanation being that the vintage was too cool or rainy.

The 2001 vintage was the fourth in a series of warm, dry seasons, resulting in some of the finest pinot noirs Oregon vintners have produced. Many of the better examples cost upward of $30 or $40, making this particular one a veritable bargain.

Tasting of black cherries, tart cranberries and sweet raspberries, with spicy notes that gain strength in the finish and with just a hint of vanilla from oak aging, this pinot noir will pair well with pork tenderloin, all sorts of chicken dishes and, next month, roast turkey. Tell your retailer it is available in Washington through Bacchus Imports.

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