Sunset's 2011 Western Wine Awards

Our judges tasted 500 wines to bring you the most extraordinary. Plus this years top wine bars, tasting rooms, and wine pros

2011 Western Wine Scene

This year's top wine bars, tasting rooms, and wine pros

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Winemaker of the Year
Photo by John Clark

Winemaker of the Year

Oregon Pinot 101 with winemaker Isabelle Meunier, of  Evening Land Vineyards in Salem.

  • What are the characteristics of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir? They are pure and delicate but still elegant and complex, with beautiful red and black fruit and silky tannins. It's magic in a glass.
  • What's the difference between an Oregon Pinot and a California one? California Pinots can leap out of a glass. In an Oregon one, look for beautiful fruit aromas and flavors but with some restraint and great acidity that carries a long finish. To me, Oregon Pinots are a nice bridge between Burgundy and California.
  • Anything you like more about making Pinot in Oregon than in France? We have a huge amount of freedom here in the way we can grow the grapes and make the wines, while in France everything is tightly legislated. In the end though, I think we have some of the best weather and soils for cool-climate grapes. The vines really thrive here, and give us magnificent fruit with character year after year.

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