It's been more than a half-century since Pinot Noir was planted in the Willamette Valley and launched Oregon's modern wine industry.
Some 50 years later, Pinot Noir remains the grape of choice for the majority of Oregon winemakers. In fact, the suave red grape most commonly associated with France's Burgundy region dominates the landscape, with more than 60 percent of the state's acreage dedicated to it.
Panther Creek Cellars 2013 Fir Crest Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $45: Aromatics lead with intense hints of dark cherry, black currant, exotic spices and minty chocolate chip. Inside are dense black cherry flavors, supported by moderate tannins, pomegranate acidity and a farewell of saddle leather, cocoa powder and Montmorency cherry. (13.1% alc.)