The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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CELLAR FOCUS Land of Pinot Noir OREGON'S WILLAMETTE VALLEY COMES TO LOS ANGELES by Anthony Dias Blue / photos by Tom Zasadzinski I n 1965, when David Lett, a renegade winemaker who trained in California, planted the first vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, he made an historic decision. Rather than opt for the Cabernet Sauvignon that he was familiar with, he chose to plant Pinot Noir. This was a fateful and prescient decision and it laid the groundwork for the Oregon wine industry. Fast forward 48 years and David Lett's dream has blossomed into one of America's most important growing regions. The Willamette Valley is now home to 300 wineries and 15,000 acres of vines, mostly Pinot Noir. Pinots from here are no longer a work in progress; the Willamette has more than arrived—it produces some of the best wines in the world. In addition to the original Willamette Valley AVA, several sub-appellations are now recognized, including Dundee Hills, Yamhil-Carlton, Chehalem Mountains, McMinnville and Eola-Amity Hills. To demonstrate their leadership, 65 Willamette Valley wineries proudly traveled to Los Angeles in Septmeber to show their wines. I tasted more than 150 wines at the tasting, and the quality level was uniformly high. What follows are a few of my favorites. Willamette Valley Wineries' "Pinot in the City" event took place in Los Angeles in September. Dave Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard. Maria Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards and Joe Bogorad, CSW, Los Angeles Market Manager for Wilson Daniels. Cheryl Francis, co-founder and consulting winemaker at Rex Hill Vineyards. 144  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_109-156.indd 144 10/24/13 9:18 AM

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