You've got to admire the passion of the Oregon vintner-chef crowd. As an unscripted prelude to the release of the 2008 pinot noir vintage, two talented chefs recently staged a fracas over the provenance of a given pig. One participant was enraged to discover the hog at a culinary demonstration had been raised in Iowa - and NOT locally. He took is disagreement onto the sidewalk outside a strip club in Portland's Chinatown. Everything was chronicled in the city's major daily. This spontaneous celebration of local boosterism occurred just prior to the annual Willamette Valley Open House circuit. Every Memorial Day weekend, dozens of wineries - some usually sealed to the public - open their cellar doors in a festive springtime ritual.
And why not get excited! Generally speaking, the 2008's are plump, balanced and ripe - without becoming overly so. The "bigger" wines (i.e., anything with Shea fruit) could indeed make the case that this might be Oregon's defining vintage to date. These wines have the big flash and fruit of 2006 and the acid structure of 2007. So far this is tasting like a dream vintage.
Yeah the same thing was said back in 1994, but now there is a whole new generation playing with grapes.
Oregon's 2008 pinots are absolutely worth hunting down. Be advised yields are down.... And don't get into fisticuffs with your brother-in-law unless he depletes the last bottle of Evesham Wood Grive Bleu without sharing.