Chuck Hill on Wines and Wine Country with links
Main menu bar for Wines Northwest


By Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill, wine reviewer and columnist

About Chuck

Follow Chuck on Twitter



(In the order of their
publication dates)

Red Rhone Varietals
A 4-Part Series
Published Apr & May 2015

50 Shades of Chardonnay
A 4-Part Series
Published Mar & Apr 2015

Italian Varietals Come
to America

A 4-Part Series
Published Jan & Feb 2015

Cabernet Sauvignon
& Blends

A 4-Part Series
Published Nov & Dec 2014

Merlot and Malbec
A 3-Part Series
Published Oct & Nov 2014

Oyster and Mussel Wines
A 4-Part Series
Published Sept & Oct 2014

Pinot Noir & Salmon
A 4-Part Series
Published June & July 2014

White Rhone Varietals
A 3-Part Series
Published Apr & May 2014


Wines of the Week
...Earlier Columns


Chuck's Wine Reviews
of other Northwest Wines

Organized by varietal


































Wines of the Week
Published June 20, 2015

Pinot Noir with Copper River Salmon – Part 2
Part 2 of a 4-Part series  (See Part 1)
By Chuck Hill

The much-heralded Copper River salmon are caught most by gillnet in Prince William Sound at the mouth of Alaska’s Copper River. This spring fishery is tightly controlled to preserve the species and is subject to the vagaries of weather and the run of the fish. The flesh of the fish is rich in oil and Omega 3 fatty acids – a healthy choice and delicious from the grill! 

This rich and flavorful salmon pairs best with Pinot Noir when grilled.  The smoky nuances from grilling add complexity and bridge the fish flavor to the toasty and fruity Pinot Noir. 

Montinore Estate
2013 Pinot Noir, Reserve
Willamette Valley AVA

Montinore Estate was established in 1982 near Forest Grove, Oregon with 210 acres of vineyards, carefully matched to the varieties being grown.  Today, the vineyards are Demeter Certified Biodynamic and Stellar Certified Organic.  This reserve Pinot Noir was the favorite with my tasters, offering rich and complex aromas and flavors of dark cherry, red plum, baking spice and toasty cedar – superb with salmon! 

Lazy River Vineyard
2012 Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton AVA

The Lumpkin family’s Lazy River Vineyard lies three and a half miles from Yamhill, Oregon and includes blocks of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling.  The fruit from this vineyard is found in wines made by many famed Oregon wineries, and the estate Pinot Noir is also excellent.  This fruity and juicy wine offers rich cherry, earthy mineral and spicy berry leading to notes of toast and gentle tannins on the finish. 

Carabella Vineyard
2012 Pinot Noir
Chehalem Mountains AVA

Vineyardist and winemaker Mike Hallock credits his vineyard site in the Chehalem Mountains AVA for the quality of his wine.  His twelve-year search for just the right location has paid off in the quality of wine with each vintage.  Aromas of cherry and plum mingle with hints of rhubarb, toast and cucumber.  The palate is rich with dark fruit flavors of cherry and plum finishing with spicy cherry candy. 

Lange Winery
2012 Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley AVA

From the widely heralded 2012 vintage, this wine is a fine example of blending wines from northern Willamette Valley vineyard sites to create a classic Pinot Noir.  The nose offers black raspberry, pomegranate, cherry and toasty oak, leading to flavors of red fruits, cocoa and earthy mineral.  This soft and fruity wine pairs very well with wild Alaskan salmon. 

Adelsheim Vineyard
2012 Elizabeth’s Reserve, Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley AVA

Adelsheim winemaker Dave Paige blends the best barrels from the best lots to create the annual bottling of Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir.  These wines represent different soils types, different clones and climates.  The 2012 blend offers raspberry and strawberry fruit with toasty cedar and hints of citrus.  The wine opens up with aeration to show more complexity and food friendliness. 

Territorial Vineyards
2012 Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley AVA

“Founded by two Lane County (Oregon) wine grape-growing families, Territorial Vineyard and Wine Company vinifies what it grows.”  The Eugene winery’s Equinox and Bellpine Vineyards were the main sources of fruit for this wine.  Look for aromas and flavors of cherry and raspberry with barrel spice, dark chocolate and hints of citrus on the finish. 

Luminous Hills
2013 Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton AVA

With both gentle and dramatic south-facing slopes, Byron Dooley’s estate Luminous Hills Vineyard sits in the southwestern portion of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA within the larger Willamette Valley appellation.  Soils in the vineyard are about 65% sedimentary and 35% volcanic.  Byron’s blend of clonally diverse wines offers complex flavors and aromas of red fruit, violets, cocoa and hints of toasty cedar and spicy green bean. 

Anne Amie Winery
2012 Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley AVA

This wine is Anne Amie’s Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir.  Winemaker Thomas Houseman crafted the wine from a selection of Dijon and traditional clones grown mostly at Anne Amie’s estate and Twelve Oaks vineyards.  The wine was aged for 16 months in French oak, 31% new.  Look for aromas of tangy blackberry, tobacco and toasty cedar, leading to flavors of dark cherry, baking chocolate and hints of floral tea. 


Cherry Hill Winery
2013 Pinot Noir, Estate
Eola-Amity Hills AVA

When you order wine from Cherry Hill Winery’s website, don’t forget to take a look at their offering of dark chocolate covered cherries – just the thing for a winery named for its small historic cherry orchard!  The 2013 Estate Pinot Noir is light in color but offers impeccable balance for pairing with salmon and other foods.  Aromas and flavors of red fruit, plum, graham cracker and cocoa lead to a finish of soft tannins and hints of oak and mineral. 


Illahe Winery
2013 Pinot Noir, Bon Sauvage
Willamette Valley AVA

Lowell Ford planted his first Oregon wine grapes on his father-in-law’s farm in 1983.  That Muller-Thurgau fruit was sold to Knudsen, Erath, Eyrie and Chateau Benoit.  In 1999, he planted the Illahe Vineyard with 44 acres of Pinot Noir.  Son Brad makes the wine, including their Bon Sauvage Pinot Noir featuring bright cherry and vanilla aromas and flavors of cherry candy, huckleberry and cola. 

Anindor Vineyards
2012 Pinot Noir
Elkton AVA

Anindor Vineyards and Winery are located in the Elkton area of the Umpqua Valley of Southern Oregon. Their tasting room is a large yurt – a framed tent-like structure that the owner’s say makes them feel closer to the land.  Stop by for a visit if you’re in the area. The 2012 Pinot Noir is a blend of Wadenswil and Dijon 115 clones from the estate vineyard.  Look for aromas and flavors of cherry and blackberry with notes of forest floor and dark chocolate. 

Erath Winery
2013 Pinot Noir

Dick Erath was one of the early pioneers in the modern era of Oregon wine.  Working with Cal Knudsen, Dick was among the first to develop vineyards in the “Red Hills of Dundee,” now an AVA and prominent growing region.  Erath Winery is now part of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. The 2013 Oregon Pinot Noir offers aromas and flavors of spicy cherry, violets and note of toasty oak 

Henry Estate
2006 Pinot Noir, Winemaker’s Reserve
Umpqua Valley AVA

This selection came to me from my old friends at Henry Estate Winery near Roseburg in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.  Winery founder Scott Henry created the grapevine trellising system that bears his name (Scott Henry Trellis) that is used around the world.  This nearly decade-old wine still has lots of stuffing showing rich cherry and vanilla on the nose with a medium-bodied palate of cherry, wet stone and hints of citrus – great with grilled salmon. 

Wines from other areas

Cakebread Cellars
2013 Pinot Noir, Two Creeks Vineyards
Anderson Valley AVA

Cakebread Cellars was founded in 1973 by Jack and Delores Cakebread and is now operated by sons Bruce and Dennis.  The Pinot Noir from Two Creeks Vineyards benefits from some aeration, offering black cherry and cassis with vanilla and toasty oak lingering on the finish. 

Fess Parker Winery
2012 Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills AVA

Whether you remember Fess Parker as Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, or as Daniel Boone, you can’t forget the trademark coonskin cap and easygoing Texas demeanor.  Fess Parker Winery’s Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills is just as memorable.  On the nose you’ll find black cherry, earthy forest floor, lavender and vanilla.  The palate offers rich cherry-pudding flavors with vanilla, cranberry and cocoa. 

Villa Maria
2013 Pinot Noir, Private Bin

The reputation of Marlborough, New Zealand for zingy Sauvignon Blanc has eclipsed the area’s Pinot Noir for more than a decade.  The favored red variety of the region is finally coming into its own with many quality wines at all price points.  Villa Maria’s Private Bin offers cranberry, cherry and earthy mineral aromas followed by red currant and cherry flavors with dried herbs and baking spice. 

Wild Oats
2013 Pinot Noir
Edna Valley

The Wild Oats brand was created by winemaker Robert Oatley who founded Rosemount Estate in Australia’s Hunter Valley.  Selected vineyards in California’s Central Coast provided the fruit for this light and jazzy Pinot Noir offering bright cherry, raspberry syrup, cotton candy and balancing flavors of savory spice and vanilla. 

Black Box
2013 Pinot Noir

Why not have Pinot Noir on tap?  The varietal is better known for high-priced bottlings with lots of French oak and enviable pedigrees.  Black Box has blended 21% Syrah for color and body, and left a noticeable amount of residual sugar to create what late winemaker Romeo Conca referred to as “a red wine that your grandmother will like.”  Look for cherry and berry with hints of vanilla and spice.

#          #          #


Last Week's Reviews

One-year Archive of previous Wines of the Week reviews

Contact Chuck

Back to Chuck's Main Page

©  June, 2015  Chuck Hill
All rights reserved.  Last revised: 06/26/2015