The modern history of Oregon wine dates back only to 1966, when David Lett founded the Eyrie Vineyards. Lett had the then-heretical belief that the Willamette Valley, just south of Portland, could be an American paradise for Pinot Noir, the red grape of Burgundy. Today, there are some 250 Oregon wineries, almost all producing Pinot Noir.
An Amazing Vintage
Oregon's had a string of good Pinot Noir vintages, starting with 1998. But the 2002 wines, most of which are now appearing in stores, may be the very best. The cool, often too-wet Willamette was mild and dry that year, and the harvest was longrunning from late September to late Octoberwhich allowed vintners to pick the grapes at exactly the right time.