paulg’s top 100 pacific northwest wines for 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is the sixth year I have compiled a personal Top 100 list, based on tastings done over the 12 month period commencing November 1, 2010 and running through October 31, 2011. This time around, I decided to make the competition even tougher than before, by including the wines of Oregon in the mix. During the previous five years, I confess that my focus on Washington, and the research required to write two editions of my Washington wine book, meant that my grip on Oregon considerably slipped. But in 2011 I made four or five separate trips to our neighbor state, tasted many hundreds of wines, visited quite a few wineries, attended several wine festivals, and basically came away with a very positive impression of what is happening throughout the state (not just in the Willamette valley).

So, as in years past, I searched through a year’s worth of tasting notes, and selected one wine from each of 100 wineries. I choose the highest-scoring wine of the year for that winery. Every winery gets just a single slot on the list! It seems to me to be the best way to showcase the full breadth and depth of the industry’s offerings, rather than having a Top 100 list dominated by a smaller number of wineries.

The 100 wines are ranked in order, first according to their score (on a 100-point scale) and within each scoring category by price (cheaper wines rank higher). Among all 93-point wines, for example, the least expensive will rank highest, and the most expensive lowest. The original suggested retail price is also listed.

All of these wines scored 92 points or higher in my reviews for Wine Enthusiast, and complete reviews are available on the magazine’s free database. This is NOT a Best Buy list, though you’ll find some excellent bargains. But most of these are special occasion wines, and some are already sold out, or have moved on to the next vintage. Enjoy, and let his serve as a shopping list for happy hunting as new vintages are released in the year ahead.

#1 – Cayuse 2008 Bionic Frog Syrah ($80) 100
#2 – Quilceda Creek 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($125) 99
#3 – Pirouette 2008 Red ($50) 98
#4 – Leonetti Cellar 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) 98
#5 – Charles Smith 2008 Royal City Syrah ($140) 98
#6 – Rasa 2008 Creative Impulse DuBrul Cab-Merlot ($95) 97
#7 – Efesté 2009 Lola Chardonnay ($30) 96
#8 – Scott Paul 2009 Dix Pinot Noir ($40) 96
#9 – Buty 2007 Columbia Rediviva Cabernet-Syrah ($48) 96
#10 – Den Hoed 2007 Andreas Cabernet Sauvignon ($80) 96
#11 – K Vintners 2007 The Hustler Syrah ($140) 96
#12 – Trisaetum 2010 Estates Reserve Riesling ($32) 95
#13 – DeLille Cellars 2009 Chaleur Estate Blanc ($36) 95
#14 – Maison Bleue 2009 Upland Vineyard Gravière GSM ($40) 95
#15 – Nefarious Cellars 2009 Rocky Mother Syrah ($42) 95
#16 – Mark Ryan 2008 Dead Horse Red ($45) 95
#17 – Domaine Serene 2007 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir ($58) 95
#18 – L’Ecole 2008 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) 95
#19 – Ponzi 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir ($60) 95
#20 – Betz Family 2008 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) 95
#21 – Doyenne 2008 Grand Ciel Syrah ($60) 95
#22 – Januik 2008 Reserve Red ($65) 95
#23 – Adelsheim 2009 Nicholas Vineyard Pinot Noir ($90) 95
#24 – Dunham 2009 Lewis Estate Riesling ($20) 94
#25 – Ch. Ste. Michelle 2007 Cold Creek Vineyard Merlot ($28) 94
#26 – Tulpen Cellars 2007 Merlot ($28) 94
#27 – ArborBrook 2008 Sydney Sémillon ($28) 94
#28 – Kontos Cellars 2008 Syrah ($30) 94
#29 – Ross Andrew 2008 Boushey Vineyard Syrah ($34) 94
#30 – Sineann 2009 Champoux Vineyard Merlot ($35) 94
#31 – Seven Hills 2008 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet ($35) 94
#32 – JM Cellars 2009 Chardonnay ($35) 94
#33 – McCrea 2006 Boushey Grand Côte Syrah ($36) 94
#34 – Otis Kenyon 2008 Stellar Vineyard Syrah ($38) 94
#35 – Barnard Griffin 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) 94
#36 – Adams Bench 2007 the V Cabernet Sauvignon ($42) 94
#37 – Gramercy Cellars 2009 The Third Man Red (($45) 94
#38 – Alexandria Nicole 2008 Destiny Red ($45) 94
#39 – Erath 2009 Prince Hill Pinot Noir ($45) 94
#40 – Viento 2009 Celilo Vineyard Gewurztraminer Ice Wine ($45) 94
#41 – Owen Roe 2009 Red Willow Chapel Block Syrah ($55) 94
#42 – Eyrie 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir ($62) 94
#43 – Doubleback 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($87) 94
#44 – Archery Summit 2009 Arcus Estate Pinot Noir ($100) 94
#45 – Rulo 2009 Sundance Vineyard Chardonnay ($20) 93
#46 – Pacific Rim 2009 Solstice Vineyard Riesling ($22) 93
#47 – Angel Vine 2009 The Hellion Red ($22) 93
#48 – Salida 2006 Tempranillo ($24) 93
#49 – Hard Row to Hoe 2008 Syrah ($28) 93
#50 – Syncline 2009 McKinley Springs Vineyard Syrah ($30) 93
#51 – Cowhorn 2009 Viognier ($30) 93
#52 – Beresan 2007 Viuda Negra Red ($35) 93
#53 – Hawks View 2009 Pinot Noir ($35) 93
#54 – Chateau Rollat 2007 Rollat Cabernet Sauvignon ($38) 93
#55 – Coeur d’Alene Cellars 2007 Alder Ridge Syrah ($40) 93
#56 – Baer 2008 Arctos Red ($41) 93
#57 – J. Bookwalter 2008 Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon ($42) 93
#58 – David Hill 2008 BlackJack Pinot Noir ($45) 93
#59 – Va Piano 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($48) 93
#60 – Dusted Valley 2008 Tall Tales Syrah ($53) 93
#61 – Andrew Will 2008 Ciel du Cheval Red ($55) 93
#62 – Sonria 2009 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir ($60) 93
#63 – Rex Hill 2008 Jacob-Hart Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65) 93
#64 – Lachini 2007 Cuvée Giselle Pinot Noir ($65) 93
#65 – Olsen Estates 2009 Blanc des Coteaux ($12) 92
#66 – Lujon 2009 Pinot Gris ($12) 92
#67 – O•S 2010 Champoux Vineyard Riesling ($15) 92
#68 – Hestia Cellars 2009 Chenin Blanc ($15) 92
#69 – Thistle 2010 Pinot Blanc ($16) 92
#70 – Gordon Brothers 2007 Syrah ($17) 92
#71 – Penner-Ash 2009 Riesling ($18) 92
#72 – Yamhill Valley 2009 Riesling ($18) 92
#73 – Barrister 2010 Klipsun Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($19) 92
#74 – Quady North 2010 Pistoleta White ($19) 92
#75 – Waterbrook 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) 92
#76 – Arbor Crest 2009 Three Vineyards Syrah ($20) 92
#77 – Cadaretta 2010 sbs ($23) 92
#78 – Chehalem 2009 Corral Creek Riesling ($24) 92
#79 – Tranche 2006 Syrah ($25) 92
#80 – Watermill 2008 Estate Cabernet Franc ($28) 92
#81 – Bunchgrass 2008 Founder’s Blend Cab Franc-Merlot ($28) 92
#82 – Isenhower 2008 Wild Thyme Cabernet Sauvignon ($29) 92
#83 – Soos Creek 2008 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) 92
#84 – Obelisco Estate 2008 Merlot ($30) 92
#85 – Sparkman 2008 Ruckus Syrah ($32) 92
#86 – Saviah Cellars 2008 Une Vallée Red ($32) 92
#87 – Market Vineyards 2008 Benchmark Merlot ($35) 92
#88 – Vista Hills 2009 Marylhurst Estate Pinot Noir ($36) 92
#89 – Walter Dacon 2008 C’est Syrah Beaux ($38) 92
#90 – Mackey Vineyards 2009 Concordia Red ($38) 92
#91 – Guardian Cellars 2008 The Alibi Red ($39) 92
#92 – Amalie Robert 2008 Dijon Clones Pinot Noir ($40) 92
#93 – Lemelson 2008 Stermer Vineyard Pinot Noir ($42) 92
#94 – Clawson Creek 2009 The Angela Pinot Noir ($45) 92
#95 – Aubichon Cellars 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir ($45) 92
#96 – Willamette Valley Vnyds 2008 South Block Pinot Noir ($45) 92
#97 – Waters 2008 Loess Vineyard Syrah ($48) 92
#98 – Le Cadeau2009 Côte Est Pinot Noir ($48) 92
#99 – Brian Carter Cellars 2008 Stone Tree 1 Cabernet ($48) 92
#100 – Northstar 2008 Walla Walla Valley Merlot ($50) 92

Of course, there are inevitably those excellent wines that just barely missed the cut (in this instance, due to pricing). I list a few of those on my Facebook page.

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