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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

An Oregon Pinot Worth Keeping in Your Cellar

Archery Summit Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Looney Vineyard 2005

James Laube
Posted: August 16, 2010

Oregon's run of great Pinot Noirs from the 2004 through 2006 vintages showed these wines at their best. (If 2008 ends up superior as expected, all the better for the state's reputation.) The other night, friends and I drank a wine from the 2005 vintage that was impressive for its vivid flavors and fragrant aromas. Archery Summit's Ribbon Ridge Looney Vineyard, accompanied by a dinner featuring grilled salmon, offered a charming medley of tight, ripe, firm berry flavors, built around blueberry, raspberry and blackberry.

As the bottle slowly emptied, my friends and I all marveled over this wine’s youthful vitality. The last sip was best, making this a thoroughly enjoyable wine that impressed from first glass to last. My 93-point non-blind rating matched the official blind tasting score it received upon release a few years ago. If you have a few bottles of this wine, it's worth setting some aside for longer-term cellaring. This wine shows the kind of vitality and concentration that should carry it another decade.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Archery Summit Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Looney Vineyard 2005 (93, $85 on release).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Oregon Pinot Noirs.

David Paulus
Barrington, IL USA —  August 18, 2010 7:29pm ET
I've been stuck in a Bordeaux/Cabernet rut and am dipping my toe in the pinot pool. My interest has been heightened with the recent news of moving to Oregon in 2011. I had some o6 Argyle reserve and liked its' fruit and lightness. Could you help me with a basic understanding of Oregons pinots. Such as, when should they be drunk and should I be treating them like some of my better Cabs and Bordeaux's.
James Laube
Napa, CA —  August 18, 2010 7:38pm ET
David, good to broaden your horizons and you'll be living in the heart of one of the world's great Pinot appellations. Check out Bruce Sanderson's recent blogs on his trip to Oregon. Harvey Steiman covers Oregon for us and has many excellent articles you can access. As for drinking Pinots, for me they are best earlier on. But they can also age. The key for aging is storage conditions and when you like them best. Practice, practice, practice.
Richard Opseth
St. Paul, MN —  August 18, 2010 11:57pm ET
Hi David - and congrats on your upcoming move to Oregon. My personal experience has been that a rough benchmark of 5-6 years from vintage date is a decent guide as to when to consume Oregon Pinot Noir. Good Luck!
Rob King
Portland, OR —  August 19, 2010 3:11am ET
Hi David, I hope you'll be able to take some weekends and explore Oregon wine country at your leisure; it's some of the most beautiful agricultural land around. An absolutely great starting point would be the town of Carlton in the northern Willamette valley, about a forty minute drive from Portland. It's a small farming town with a plethora (I love that word) of tasting rooms within a fifteen minute walk or so of downtown. You can sample Ken Wright, Scott Paul, Cana's Feast, Carlton Winemakers Studio, and a lot more. It's a hoot!

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