Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills 2019 $39

What’s the Deal

Oregon Pinot may be the most-lauded, least-tasted wine in North America. Ask any nascent wine lover and they’ve no doubt heard about the Willamette Valley’s ability to somehow channel the ethereal magic of Burgundy married to the quality control of California. Spend $50 on a bottle of Burgundy and who the hell knows what you’re going to get (or $150 for that matter, but I digress), but spend $50 on a bottle of Oregon Pinot and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a special experience.

But therein lies the rub—$50 is still not cheap, and that’s generally the starting point. And then you have the supply issue—Oregon simply doesn’t make that much wine (California makes way more Pinot) and even less of it makes its way North (the BCL stocks only 6 different bottles), so even locating bottles to take a chance on can be tricky.

Sokol Blosser, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon

What’s in the Bottle

All of which makes this bottle—by benchmark producer Sokol-Blosser—a Godsend. This isn’t some generic Willamette Valley designated wine, wherein spare grapes from all over the region are cobbled together under the broadest possible designation. It’s all from the acclaimed Dundee Hills AVA, meaning it’s doing its damnedest to channel a real sense of place here.

And I think it’s doing a bang-up job. The nose has the high note red fruit that speaks both to the area’s light body but also its ability to deliver fruit in a suitable amount. On the palate you get tart cranberry and sour cherry notes that might take some getting used to fans of Russian River Pinot, but trust me they grow on you with each sip (and work exponentially better with food to boot). Finally you have some forest floor, even light mushroom-y notes—again classic Oregon.

And while the intensity and length of all the above is less than you’d find in a lauded single-vineyard Pinot, it’s also less than half the price. And as a fun WL specific aside: Sokol Blosser’s stunner of a tasting room was designed by the acclaimed Allied Works Architecture out of Portland (they all also did the National Music Centre in Calgary) and who’s principal, Brad Cloepfil, is one of our judging alumni from Designers of the Year.

Should I Buy?

At $39? What do you have to lose? I’ll admit the price doesn’t scream Tuesday night pizza, but have you looked at the price of Okanagan Pinot lately? A full half of the bottles I come across these days are $40 or above (and they’re great to, mind you), so $40 ain’t what $40 used to be. Couple that with the fact that we in Western Canada pay one of the lowest prices for this wine in the world—it sells for $48 USD on the discount site

The only downside is this is likely a gateway pinot for you and my guess is a bottle of this will set Pinot lovers on an Oregon kick that will be equals parts illuminating and pricey.

You’ve been warned.