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By Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill, wine reviewer and columnist

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Pinot Noir & Salmon
A 4-Part Series
Published June & July 2015

Red Rhone Varietals
A 4-Part Series
Published Apr & May 2015

50 Shades of Chardonnay
A 4-Part Series
Published Mar & Apr 2015

Italian Varietals
Come to America

A 4-Part Series
Published Jan & Feb 2015

Cabernet Sauvignon
& Blends

A 4-Part Series
Published Nov & Dec 2014

Merlot and Malbec
A 3-Part Series
Published Oct & Nov 2014

White Rhone Varietals
A 3-Part Series

Published Apr & May 2014


Index to Archived
Wines of the Week
...Earlier Columns


Chuck's Wine Reviews
of other Northwest Wines

Organized by varietal


Book Reviews
















































Last Week's Reviews
Published July 15, 2015

Pinot Noir and Salmon – Part 4
Part 4 of a 4-Part series  (Part 1)  (Part 2)  (Part 3)
By Chuck Hill

Even though the Copper River salmon season was shortened from past years with fewer fish available, there was still an ample supply.  Other wild Alaska salmon runs are still available with quality being very high (and very tasty!).  

Some of the recommended Pinot Noirs in my columns have changed vintages from those wines reviewed. In almost every case, the quality is the same or better.  Just be aware that if you want the EXACT same wine as I tasted, you may have to call the winery or track down a bottle at your favorite retailer. 

Archery Summit
2012 Pinot Noir, Archery Summit Estate
Dundee Hills AVA

Rarity in wine tends to drive prices up.  I’m not sure you can even find this bottle anymore, but it was a top wine from a top vintage so if you find it, it will be pricey.  Similar in style to the following wine, look for aromas and flavors of dark cherry and cassis with earthy mineral, tobacco and toasty oak.  Serve salmon from grill for the toasty/smoky nuances. 

Angela Estate
2012 Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton AVA

What can I say?  Angela Estate winemaker (and vineyard consultant) Ken Wright is one of Oregon’s finest and this wine shows it.  This superb bottling offers aromas of dark fruits with notes of smoky meat, coffee and baking spices.  The palate of dark cherry and plum finishes with notes of cocoa, cola and toasty cedar – excellent with salmon. 


Wine by Joe
2013 Pinot Noir

Even at this low price point, it is still possible to get a really tasty Pinot Noir.  Winemaker Joe Dobbes crafts his second label wine with superb character – just a little lighter with less oak and aging.  Aromas of red cherry, rose petal and complex cherry candy lead to flavors of strawberry with hints of herbs and violets. 


2013 Pinot Noir

This wine is the second label from Oregon’s King Estate Winery and is another example of what you can find for a very reasonable price.  Aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, plum and vanilla provide a wonderful pairing with salmon – either grilled or baked with lemon. 

Willamette Valley Vineyards
2014 Pinot Noir, Whole Cluster
Willamette Valley  AVA

This Pinot Noir is made in the method of carbonic maceration, similar to Nouveau Beaujolais from France. This whole-cluster, carbon dioxide enhanced fermentation captures the pure Pinot Noir fruit in its youthful style.  Look for ripe cherry, raspberry and hints of vanilla on both the nose and the palate. 

Reustle Vineyards
2013 Pinot Noir, Pishon Bloc
Umpqua Valley AVA

Christian vintner Stephen Reustle named one of his vineyard blocks “Pishon” after a river named in the Bible as located in the Garden of Eden.  It turns out that the vineyard produces great wine, but also a note from the Feds discussing the use of Old Testament names on wine labels.  Getting on to the loaves and fishes, we really enjoyed this wine with salmon!  Look for aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry and violets for a great wine-pairing treat. 

Stangeland Winery
2013 Pinot Noir, Eola Hills Cuvee
Eola-Amity Hills AVA

Larry Miller’s Eola Hills Cuvee is a medium-bodied Pinot Noir crafted from grapes grown in this historic wine region northwest of Salem, Oregon.  The wine is well balanced with good acidity to pair with salmon or other rich dishes.  Look for aromas and flavors of red cherry, cranberry, dried herbs and hints of vanilla. 

Panther Creek Cellars
2012 Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton AVA

Panther Creek Cellars’ tasting room is located in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country on Highway 99W in Dundee, Oregon.  The tasting room is open daily from 10am to 5pm.  This powerful Pinot Noir was crafted from fruit grown at the Kalita Vineyard near the town of Yamhill.  Aromas and flavors of dark cherry fruit and spicy cherry candy combine to give the wine complexity and style with notes of toasty cedar, earthy mineral and vanilla adding depth. 

Seven of Hearts
2013 Pinot Noir, Armstrong Vineyard
Ribbon Ridge AVA

Winemaker Byron Dooley crafts wines from grapes grown at many Northwest locations, and offers his followers several different vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from each vintage.  This wine from the tiny Ribbon Ridge AVA offers cherry and cranberry fruit with notes of toasty cedar and vanilla with soft tannins on the finish. 

Ross Andrew Winery
2012 Pinot Noir, “Meadow”

Ross Andrew Mickel and his wife Alexandra are the proprietors of Ross Andrew Winery in Woodinville, Washington.  Ross crafts wines from sources throughout the Northwest including this Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills area of Oregon.  Look for aromas of spicy cherry, vanilla and violets with flavors of cherry candy and baking spice on the palate. 

Rosé of Pinot Noir

Anne Amie Winery
2014 Cuvee A Midnight Saignée
Willamette Valley AVA

Anne Amie Winery’s Cuvee A bottlings are made from the most fresh and lively of each year’s harvest and are released at an earlier date without extensive barrel aging.  Midnight Saignée Pinot Noir Rosé offers aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry and raspberry with rose petal and rhubarb nuances. 

Adelsheim Vineyard
2014 Rosé
Willamette Valley AVA

A saignée was used to make this rosé, with a portion of juice being bled off from a Pinot Noir fermenter 6 to 12 hours after being filled with crushed grapes.  Aromas of strawberries and orchard blossoms lead to a palate of cherry and strawberry flavors with hints of watermelon and delicate spice. 

Firesteed Winery
2014 Pinot Noir Rosé
Willamette Valley AVA

Firesteed Rosé offers a hint of sweetness on the palate, creating a flavorful wine for sipping as an aperitif – especially as the warmer weather continues!  Aromas and flavors of grapefruit and cherry offer complexity and Pinot Noir character. 

Territorial Vineyards
2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley AVA

“Founded by two Lane County (Oregon) wine grape-growing families, Territorial Vineyard and Wine Company vinifies what it grows.”  The Eugene winery’s Equinox and Bellpine Vineyards were the main sources of fruit for this wine.  The flamingo on the label adds a festive summer touch.  Look for aromas and flavors of watermelon and strawberry with refreshing notes of cherry. 

Wines from other areas


Niner Wine Estates
2012 Pinot Noir
Edna Valley AVA

Winemaker Steve Dooley crafted this wine from grapes grown in the Jesperson Ranch vineyard in the northwest corner of the Edna Valley.  The long, cool growing season of this area is perfect for Pinot Noir, and this vineyard includes several Dijon clones.  Look for aromas and flavors of citrus and flowers over a base of cherry and cranberry with notes of spice box, earthy mineral and toasty oak – great with salmon from the grill. 


La Crema
2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley AVA

Those who haven’t visited the Russian River Valley in California’s Sonoma County, owe themselves a real treat for the majestic scenery and delicious wines.  Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas used 70% whole berry fermentation followed by nine months aging in French oak.  This elegant Pinot Noir is a real winner with salmon, offering complex cherry and plum with nuances of spice, cocoa, tobacco and a finish of vanilla and toasty oak. 

Decoy Wines
2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma County

Decoy is one of the second labels of Duckhorn Vineyards, the Napa Valley super premium winery that specializes in Merlot.  This Sonoma County Pinot Noir offers aromas of dark plum, vanilla and lavender, leading to a rich palate of dark cherry, herbs and a hint of tangy cranberry on the finish. 

2011 Pinot Noir, Murmur Vineyard, clone 828
Santa Maria Valley AVA

This rich and ripe Pinot Noir appeals to wine drinkers who like the power of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Look for aromas and flavors of dark fruits, cola and notes of barrel toast and tar.  It is tasty with grilled salmon if you are looking for a big wine and is crafted from the 828 clone of Pinot Noir – known as one of the “suitcase clones.”  For notes on the sometimes clandestine importation technique, see: 

Fess Parker Winery
2013 Pinot Noir, Parker West Vineyard
Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Fess Parker wines have really impressed our tasters this year.  This reserve bottling from the Parker West Vineyard was aged for 18 months in French oak, 33% new.  Aromas of cherry and black raspberry mingle with notes of forest floor, cedar and coffee.  On the palate, extracted flavors of black cherry, currant and cranberry stand up wonderfully to grilled salmon.

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