Wine Wednesday: California vs Oregon Pinot Noir (Video)

The live video course, with wine expert Madeline Puckette, explores fundamental topics in wine through our sense of taste. Grab a glass, pull up a chair, and join us live.

Taste the difference between California and Oregon Pinot Noir

California vs Oregon Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is quickly becoming the most important red wine in the world. We can say this with some certainty given that the top wines of the world (the most expensive) are the Pinot Noir wines from the Côte d’Or in Burgundy. In this tasting we’ll explore two American Pinot Noirs from 2 very different growing regions: Oregon and California.

Pinot Noir is an ideal wine to explore regionality and the concept of terroir because it takes on the characteristics of its environment and the lower tannin makes it easier to identify its unique qualities. Learning what to expect from a cooler climate region like Oregon vs a warmer climate region like California will help decide your course in wine preference.


The Wines

2014-willamette-valley-vineyards-whole-cluster-pinot-noir-oregon

Willamette Valley Vineyards “Whole Cluster” Oregon Pinot Noir 2014

Page 100 Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine

  • Color: Slightly hazy. Translucent light garnet with wide watery rim and possibly no filtration
  • Aroma: Clean. Medium intensity aromas of raw crushed cranberry, crushed cherry, dill pickle, raspberry sauce and rose
  • Taste/Structure: Medium intensity with a light body and flavors of sweet raspberries, clove, cherry syrup, burnt brown sugar, and cola. On the mid-palate, slight bitter notes of peony flower and rose and on the finish a sweet note of cola. Acidity tastes medium high and tannin is low.
  • Alcohol: 13.7%
  • pH: 3.68
  • Acidity: 7.72 g/L
  • Residual Sugar: unknown

Serving: Serve slightly chilled around 60–62ºF (17 ºC). No need to decant.
Wine Tech Sheet Link: Willamette Valley Vineyards
Wine Purchase Link: ~$22 wine.com

Hands Down, The Most Pragmatic Opener

Hands Down, The Most Pragmatic Opener

This elegant and light-weight waiter's friend was designed in Cahors, France

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william-hill-estate-central-coast-california-pinot-noir-2014

William Hill Estate Winery Central Coast California Pinot Noir 2014

Page 100 Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine

  • Color: Clear. Translucent light ruby with wide watery rim.
  • Aroma: Clean. Medium intensity aromas of black cherry sauce, vanilla, clove, burnt brown sugar and hibiscus
  • Taste/Structure: Medium intensity with medium body and flavors of clove spiced raspberry sauce, hibiscus punch and cola. On the mid-palate, softer flavors of cherry and hibiscus and on the finish a sweet note of cola and clove. Acidity tastes medium high, alcohol tastes high and tannin tastes low.
  • Alcohol: 14.2%
  • pH: 3.71
  • Acidity: 6.2 g/L
  • Residual Sugar: 3.5 g/L

Serving: Serve slightly chilled around 60–62ºF (17 ºC). No need to decant.
Wine Tech Sheet Link: William Hill Estate
Wine Purchase Link: ~$16 wine.com

California's North Coast Wine Map

California's North Coast Wine Map

Get to know the regions and wines of California's North Coast on this illustrated map.

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About Madeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly