Oregon wines claimed a special part in Australian wine reviewer Nick Stock’s heart in his latest Oregon report. For his second visit to our region, Stock tasted and reviewed 451 Oregon wines for the highly acclaimed James Suckling website, titling his report Oregon’s Best and Brightest Offer Great Pinots and Chardonnays.

“The quality of wine coming out of this Pacific Northwest state, specifically pinot noir and chardonnay, is consistently impressive. Even more impressive – it’s only going to improve. Outside of Burgundy, it’s hard to find a greater source of high quality pinot noir. And chardonnay is now making some inroads too,” he writes. “It’s a wonderful time to buy wine from Oregon. Many variables influence winemaking here but the most exciting at the moment is the human factor. These winemakers’ excellent wines released this year are testament to that.”

Compared to the 2018 Oregon report, this 2019 report has 50 more wines more reviewed and includes Oregon’s first 99 point rating for the Antica Terra Pinot noir Eola-Amity Hills Antikythera 2016. In 2018, 92% of the Oregon wines reviewed had a score of 90+, or 374 out of 406. In 2019, that number soared up to an astounding 97% of Oregon wines reviewed had a score of 90+, or 438 out of 451.

Nicks starts with a spot of coffee at the Atticus Hotel before his day of tasting begins

As for varieties, the top 5 spots were held by two Pinot noirs from Antica Terra and three Chardonnays from 00 Wines. They are:

  1. Antica Terra Pinot noir Eola-Amity Hills Antikythera 2016
  2. 00 Wines Chardonnay Willamette Valley EGW 2017
  3. 00 Wines Chardonnay Willamette Valley Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs 2017
  4. 00 Wines Chardonnay Willamette Valley VGW 2017
  5. Antica Terra Pinot noir Willamette Valley Obelin 2016

As for AVAs, the Willamette Valley and its nested AVAs dominate the top 18, with the Walla Walla Valley coming in with all the strong wines below, all rated at 96:

  • Hors Categorie Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2015
  • Horsepower Syrah Walla Walla Valley High Contrast Vineyard 2016
  • Horsepower Syrah Walla Walla Valley Sur Echalas Vineyard 2016
  • Horsepower Syrah Walla Walla Valley The Tribe Vineyard  2016
  • No Girls Syrah Walla Walla Valley  La Paciencia Vineyard  2016

Quady North was the highest Southern Oregon scorer, with a 94 for its flagship Syrah Mae’s Vineyard  2014 from Applegate Valley, followed by fellow Applegate Valley winemaker Cowhorn, with a 93 for its 2016 Grenache.

While Stock seems to have found the sweet spot of Oregon’s premier wines, he was struck by the personalities of winemakers while on his visit. “I wrote last year about the collaborative approach in the grape-growing and winemaking community here so I wanted to meet more people behind the wines this year. As much as this is a great place to grow wine grapes, the human factor looms large in shaping the quality in the bottle,” he concluded.