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. Here, a sampling of bottles to buy from May Wine Guide:
2002 Archery Summit Premier Cuvée $37
The sister winery to Napas Pine Ridge produces its Premier Cuvée with lots blended from its four estate vineyards. The 2002 is one of the vintage's most intense, powerful, broodingly dark Pinots. 2002 Domaine Drouhin $45
The American outpost of Burgundy's Drouhin winery turned out a sneakily rich, lavishly filled-in Pinot, but one that demands a good 15 minutes aeration in a glass or decanter. 2002 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée $33
Domaine Serene Pinots are remarkable for their silky smooth texture. This 2002 may be the smoothest yet.2002 St. Innocent Anden Vineyard $30
One trademark of Mark Vlossek's Pinots is a firm backbone of acidity. Although the acidity is certainly present in this 2002, there is also a lively juiciness. 2002 King Estate Domaine $50
This flashy Napa-esque property on the outskirts of Eugene alarmed the homey Oregon wine community in the 1990s, but the King family has demonstrated it's serious about producing elegant and harmonious wines.