Tasting with Larry Miller, owner and winemaker of Stangeland Vineyards & Winery in Oregon, you feel right at home with him and his wines. On a little East Coast tour, Larry was at Planet Wine in Alexandria yesterday giving customers a peak into his four-acres of vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. As a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, I was anxious to taste Larry’s offerings.

Larry planted his first grapes in 1978, which by his count makes him the fourth oldest vineyards in the Hills region. At first he sold his grapes to other winemakers then in 1991 produced his first vintage. Today he makes predominately Pinot Noir wines along with Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Tempranillo.  In total about 2,500 cases per year.

Yesterday we tasted the 2009 Pinot Gris and 2008 Chardonnay for whites. Both nice and quite different than your typical expressions of these wines in the Northwest U.S. The Pinot Gris has some residual sugar but still a nice acidity and finish. The Chardonnay is a nice cool climate white similarly to a white Burgundy from France.

His Pinot Noir impressed me the most. Again not what I’ve typically tasted in Oregon Pinot Noir. We went from the 2009 Pinot Noir to the 2008 Miller’s Vineyard to the 2008 Estate Reserve to the 2009 Vermeer Vineyard. As we went up the tasting, the complexity and richness increased…more concentrated fruit, smooth, round and caramel. The Vermeer Vineyard was phenomenal! And the 2009 Pinot Noir is a great price for a great wine…

Stangeland Pinot Noir 2009

  • Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir, a blend of grapes from different vineyards but the ’09 is predominately Miller’s Vineyard
  • Aroma: Red fruit
  • Taste: Caramelly blueberry deliciousnes
  • Price: $20
  • My thoughts:  This wine packs lots of fruit with a nice finish. Great stand alone wine that doesn’t need to be paired with food.

Stangeland has won three gold medals and three silver medals at the famous Mondial des Pinots in Switzerland…the only Oregon winery with that accreditation.

Ask your local wine shop about ordering Stangeland or you can also order online.

The Eola-Amity Hills AVA is northwest of Salem, Oregon (here’s great interactive map of the wine region) and sits right in the heart of the state’s well-known Willamette Valley.

Cheers to Stangeland, a great slice of Oregon Pinot!