Last weekend I visited a friend in Maine and we spent a couple days on Monhegan Island, a small, lovely spot for hiking and relaxing that can only be reached by boat and where cars aren’t permitted. The restaurants there are BYO and, naturally, since everything has to be brought to the island by boat, wine choices are limited, although the handful of local stores carried a selection of bottlings.
To be sure we’d have something we’d enjoy drinking, I packed a couple bottles in my suitcase, taking care to choose wines that were organically farmed, since my friend works on sustainability projects for environmental organizations. One of them was a Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley, Cooper Mountain's affordably priced Cooper Hill 2008 bottling, certified from organically and biodynamically grown grapes.
The red went down easily as we sat on the porch of our inn and enjoyed a glass in the cool evening air after the long heat spell here in New York. Delicate and elegant in style, on the crisp side, the wine showcased red berry and cherry fruit, mild spices and a pleasant earthy note, finishing soft and juicy with supple tannins. Good Pinot character at a great price; 88 points, non-blind. We took the bottle in to dinner, and while we knew we'd have had a better match with salmon than the local seafood dishes we chose, the wine was light enough to not overwhelm them. And I saved some sips to savor on their own after the meal.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Cooper Mountain Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Cooper Hill 2008 (89, $15; Smart Buy).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among Oregon Pinot Noirs for $30 or less.