A couple of musician friends arrived a day early for their concert recently in Berkeley, across the bay from my home in San Francisco. We arranged to meet at Camino, a casual restaurant in Oakland where chef Russell Moore rustles up farm-to-table fare on an open hearth, infusing dishes with marvelous smoky tones. The wine list is short, but I knew I could bring something from my cellar to demonstrate the glories of American wine for my friends, who hail from Wales and Scotland.
I wanted something fully mature, yet retaining enough fruit flavor to balance the smokiness of the food. Oregon Pinot Noir seemed like just the thing, and I pulled out my last remaining bottle of Archery Summit Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Estate 1998. Bursting with fruit on release, the wine always seemed built to last, and it showed well in my 10-years-on tasting of the ’98 vintage a couple of years back.
The wine delivered. Its dark cherry and spice flavors had softened into a plush, almost opulent texture, the tannins totally absorbed. I gave it 92 points, non-blind, and it was a perfect match with Moore’s grass-fed beef steak, braised short rib and polenta. My Welsh friend allowed as how it did just fine with his wood-roasted ling cod, too.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Archery Summit Pinot Noir Oregon Archery Summit Estate 1998 (90, $100).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Oregon Pinot Noirs.