On early reports, 2010 in Oregon looked like a washout for Pinot Noir. A long series of rain showers occurred just as the grapes were ready to pick, and there was a mad scramble at the end to get the grapes into the wineries before heavier rains in late October. Bird damage was much greater than normal, further diminishing the size of the crop.
But after tasting barrel samples and recently bottled wines in 15 Willamette Valley cellars, I can confidently predict 2010 will be a special vintage. Maybe it won't achieve the blockbuster status of 2008, but the wines show a welcome freshness and vitality along with delicacy, transparency and relatively low alcohol levels. I anticipate a lot of scores in the low- to mid-90s, at least from the better producers.
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