Oregon Wines Hit High Notes with Wine Critics in 2023

Top magazine mentions for Oregon wines

Michael Alberty, who writes about wine for The Oregonian/OregonLive and Wine Enthusiast Magazine, saw a definite theme in 2023 with Top 100 lists – there is a whole lotta Oregon in there. Alberty penned this article and we are congratulating Oregon winemakers by sharing it with permission from the author. Read the original version here.

Seven Oregon wines appear on Wine Spectator magazine’s recently released “Top 100 Wines for 2023″ list. When the magazine debuted its Top 100 list in 1988, the Oregon wine industry considered it a great year if even one Oregon wine was mentioned.

How times have changed.

In addition to Wine Spectator, several Oregon wines made the cut for similar lists compiled by Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits Magazine. The average score for the 18 Oregon wines listed in those publications is 94.7 on the ubiquitous 100-point scale. The average bottle price is $56.40.

A few things about these lists stood out for me. First, the grapes involved aren’t all Pinot noir, which is still Oregon’s global calling card. Wines featured on these lists were made with everything from Syrah, Grenache and Tempranillo to Viognier, Pinot gris and Riesling.

And what a showing for riesling. Three of the 18 Oregon wines listed here are made with the riesling grape, the pride of Europe’s Rhine River region.

Even more impressive – the 2019 Brooks Bois Joli Riesling, at number 23, finished as the second-highest ranked riesling in the world on Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 list. This result was likely celebrated at a recent tasting of eight vintages of Jois Boli hosted by Brooks at their winery in Amity.

I was also impressed by the number of Oregon wineries that placed multiple wines on these lists.

Big Table Farm has a Pinot noir on the Wine Enthusiast list while placing a Syrah with Wine & Spirits. In addition to the Bois Joli, Brooks Wine landed a Pinot noir with Wine & SpiritsBergström Wines efficiently put the same pinot noir on two different lists.

My favorite Top 100 list story involves Bionic Wines, owned by Christophe Baron of Cayuse fame.

Bionic Wines has wines appearing on the Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast lists. Even though the listed Cayuse and No Girls wines are made in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, with grapes grown on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley, it was common for people to miss counting them in their Oregon column.

Here are the complete lists of Oregon wines. Who knows? If the wines haven’t already sold out, you may find some holiday gift ideas here.

(Disclosure: I cover Oregon, Washington and Canada for Wine Enthusiast.)

The ranking, points scored and winery price for each wine is listed in parentheses.

A glass of red wine sits on a post in a vineyard.
The 2021 Bergström Silice Pinot Noir made two “end of the year” lists for major wine publications. Michael Alberty

Wine Spectator Top 100

  • 2021 Résonance Wines Pinot Noir Willamette Valley (No.9 – 94 – $40)
  • 2021 Domaine Drouhin Laurène Pinot Noir Dundee Hills (No.16 – 95 – $75)
  • 2021 Purple Hands Lone Oak Ranch Pinot Noir Willamette Valley (No.20 – 94 – $30)
  • 2019 No Girls Double Lucky No.8 Red Blend Walla Walla Valley (No.28 – 95 – $55)
  • 2021 Bergström Silice Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains (No.32 – 95- $92)
  • 2021 Archery Summit Vireton Willamette Valley (No. 56 – 93 – $34)
  • 2021 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills (No.69 – 93 – $38)
Closeup of a wine label.
While strongly associated with Walla Walla, Washington, wines like the Cayuse En Cerise Syrah are made in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.Michael Alberty

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2020 Cayuse En Cerise Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley (No.10 – 96 – $94)
  • 2021 Big Table Farm Cattrall Brothers Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills (No.22 – 96 – $72)
  • 2019 Brooks Bois Joli Riesling Eola-Amity Hills (No.23 – 95 – $28)
  • 2019 Soter Mineral Springs Brut Rosé Sparkling (No.49 – 95 – $75)
  • 2020 Domaine Serene Rockblock Viognier Applegate Valley (No.67 – 91 – $45)
Eight bottles of wine sit on a winery tasting room bar.
A vertical tasting of Bois Joli riesling was recently held at Brooks winery in Amity. The 2019 vintage made Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 list in 2023.Photo by Jillian Barnhart

Wine & Spirits Magazine

Wine & Spirits Magazine doesn’t have a Top 100 list exactly like the ones published by Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. I thought it was important to have them involved, so I asked Patrick Comiskey to provide six wines that stood out for him this year.

Comiskey is Wine & Spirits Magazine’s critic for all domestic wines outside of California and he is easily one of the very best in the business. He was gracious enough to provide brief descriptions for each wine, so I have included them here.

  • 2019 On Wine Hill (Golden Cluster) Reduction Chardonnay Willamette Valley — crazy wine, totally improvised, a paean to reduction and millerandage fruit. (95 – $35)
  • 2021 Ovum Off the Grid Cedar Ranch Riesling Rogue Valley — astonishing riesling from one of the country’s most unique, expressive sites. Ksenia and John seem to guide the flavors and stay out of their way at the same time. (96 – $25)
  • 2021 Brooks Ara Willamette Valley Riesling — drawing from two old vine parcels, dramatic complexity and range of flavor. (94 – $38)
  • 2021 Walter Scott Sojeau Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills — totally expressive and seductive, one of the most ‘alive’ pinots I tasted all year, pulsing in its vibrancy. (97 – $80)
  • 2021 Bergström Silice Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains — assertive use of whole cluster meets spectacular, expressive fruit. (95 – $92)
  • 2019 Big Table Farm The Rocks Funk Estate Syrah — a Pinot guy managing all the funkiness of Rocks fruit, the flavors bold, the texture restrained and elegant. (95 – $68)

— Michael Alberty writes about wine for The Oregonian/OregonLive and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.