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OREGON PINOT NOIR

The received wisdom is that Pinot Noir is a capricious grape to grow. Despite the difficulties, however, it has settled in quite comfortably in Oregon. There are stunning wines being produced in this corner of the Pacific Northwest. As Véronique Drouhin puts it: ‘There aren’t many places on earth where Pinot Noir grows well. Oregon is absolutely one of the few where the delicate grape variety expresses itself in such a refined way.’

Given its somewhat temperamental nature, site is everything. The success of recent bottlings from many producers shows that, while this is true, limestone and marl aren’t necessarily part of the equation. These soil types, found in Burgundy, simply don’t exist in the Willamette Valley. Limestone is a type of rock formed over millions of years by marine sediment. The oldest soils in Oregon, such as Willakenzie, were formed in the same way, but they do not have the same calcium-rich nature as their Burgundian relatives because they are derived from accretions of sandstone, not calcium-rich marine organisms. In Oregon, the picture is further complicated by volcanic soil types such as Jory and Nekia, composed of basalt from lava that flowed out of what is today the Cascade mountains. The Dundee Hills AVA and the Eola-Amity Hills AVA have mostly

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