The Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 is a taste of Oregon Pinot, sourced from several AVAs inside the state. The Oregon version of wine from California simply California on the label as the place of origin. When folks think of Oregon Pinot Noir, they usually think of Willamette Valley, but there is more to Oregon wine.
There are over 20 AVAs and sub-AVAs in Oregon, and while Pinot Noir is the best-known grape that is grown, they farm a wide range of wine grapes. Firesteed was started in 1992 and had a wide range of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and an Estate Pinot, along with Pinot Gris and Reisling White wine.
Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir can be pricey, and this wine lists for $17 and is available at Trader Joe’s for $11.99. One interesting detail concerning Oregon wine bottles selling for less than $40 typically have screw caps, and over $40 have corks.
The Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 has a screw cap, and I approve of their logic. Under $40 Pinot Noirs, probably are not wines you would cellar, so a screw cap is practical. The over $40 Pinots may be laid down for a year or two, and a cork is better for that purpose.
Firesteed does not specify which AVAs were used for the grapes; grapes are grown all along the Pacific Coastline. The technical notes mentioned that 2019 was a cool year compared to recent vintages, but that harvest (late September) was slightly earlier than usual.
This may be a drink-it-now Pinot Noir, but Firesteed recommends allowing the age for a few years. This Pinot Noir will improve with age, indicating that the wine production techniques were more in line with more expensive wines than typical value-priced wine.
The wine was fermented in stainless steel vats, and the yeast used for fermentation is from Burgundy. Burgundy is the home of the finest Pinot Noir wines, so Burgundian yeast is a good sign. They mention racking the wine, which means transferring the wine from one container to another. They do not mention what their second container is, an oak barrel? A different stainless steel vat? But they do mention oak in the tasting notes, so the oak is used in some manner.
This is not a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, though Willamette Valley grapes are probably in the blend. It is not priced like a Willamette Valley wine, but it seems to be made with the same care and style as Willamette Valley wines. A high-end AVA is not necessary; well-chosen grapes from quality vineyards from a solid grape growing area will do the trick. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 Tasting Notes
This Pinot Noir is silky smooth up-front with rough edges on the mid-palate. The color is very clear, see-thru garnet red. The nose is interesting, red berries and spice, toasty vanilla and herbs, red licorice, dried autumn leaves, spearmint, and a little chocolate.
It tastes of cherry, dusty, exotic spice, French vanilla, plum, black pepper, and herbs. The mid-palate adds orange zest, a salty sensation, black tea, a slap of sharp spice, and cranberry. The acidity is well-balanced and gives the wine length. If you ever want to complete a winemaker from Burgundy on their Pinot Noir, tell them the wine has balanced acidity and length. The structure of the wine is as important as the flavor. This wine has that structure.
- The Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 is an excellent Pinot Noir, get at TJ’s for $11.99, and it is a flat-out bargain.
- It tastes like a classic Pinot Noir; the trend recently is for full-bodied Pinots blended with Petite Sirah and other red grapes.
- I like those wines as tasty Red blends, but not as Pinot Noir.
- This is a classic Pinot Noir at a great price.