What was considered by most to be a hallmark vintage, 2012 in Oregon was the calm which came after the storm of the cold and challenging 2011 vintage. Talking with winemaker Tony Rynders, he mentioned how these wines needed a bit of time to fully evolve into something special. I noticed that when I tried these upon release, that many of the 2012 Oregon Pinot Noirs were quite reticent both with their aromas and flavors. The wines had the stuffing and potential, but many just needed time to evolve.
I fondly recall speaking with the talented Brian Marcy of Big Table Farm about his 2012 wines and he also agreed that his 2012 wines were excellent upon release but improved with some time. There were several wines from this report that I rated 95 points and higher, including two wines from Big Table Farm, their marvelously earthy ‘Sunnyside Vineyard’ and their seamless ‘Cattrall Vineyard’ Pinot Noirs. While quite different, these both share a deep core and a silky texture that entices. Releases by Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene also held their seats at the high table with the stunning 2012 Domaine Drouhin ‘Laurene’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 95), the 2012 Domane Serene ‘Evenstad Reserve’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 95) as well as the highest scoring wine from this report (and one of the top Oregon wines that I have sampled in the past year), the magical 2012 Domaine Serene ‘Grace Vineyard’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 96). Finally, James Frey has quietly been producing some scintillating bottlings, and his 2012 Trisaetum ‘Family Reserve’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 95) is a barrel select Pinot Noir that is the best wine that I have ever had from his estate.
I believe this to be the most comprehensive 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir retrospective that has ever been published. The 2012 Oregon Pinot Noirs are really starting to hit their stride, as lighter tertiary notes are settling into the deep core of red and dark fruits. For those who have these beautiful wines in their cellars, do not be afraid to open these glorious Pinot Noir wines. Here are the top wines from my 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir Retrospective.