Pinot Noir is a comfort wine for me. Its inherent elegance soothes my spirit while its complexity piques my interest as it slowly unfolds. Now that I’m cooking from home a lot more, I enjoy a glass while preparing dinner and savor another glass or two when we go to the table.
My son, home from college, is sheltering in place with me, and we’re eating well but keeping it simple. I don’t want to deplete the pantry and freezer too quickly, and am trying to keep trips to the grocery store to a minimum. Reasonably priced Pinot ties in nicely with many of the dishes I’m making.
As Wine Spectator’s lead taster for the wines of Oregon, I’ve recently reviewed hundreds of impressive Pinots from Willamette Valley. The two current-release vintages, 2016 and 2017, offer a bounty of bright, rich and supple Pinot Noirs.
A current favorite is J.K. Carriere Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Provocateur 2017 (91 points), a svelte and silky red with vibrant fruit and intriguing savory spice and black tea accents. The man behind it is Jim Prosser, who took a circuitous route to winemaking that included stints in real estate and the Peace Corps. His Provocateur is among the most consistent values in Oregon—a great deal for the category at only $26.
Have your own wine story from recent weeks? Whether it’s pulling a special bottle from the cellar or enjoying a glass of a great value that you stockpiled, whether you shared it with close friends and family or savored it on your own, we want to hear from you. Share what you're drinking with us on our social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.