2019 Mouton Noir OPP
2019 Mouton Noir OPP, Willamette Valley, USA
O.P.P., which stands for “Other People’s Pinot,” is classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir earmark Willamette Valley. It is accessible, a great value, and stays true to the character of the vineyards from which it was born. Earthy, spicy, floral, herb-framed flavors of cherry with gingery wood spice tones.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”
Willamette Valley, in western Oregon, is one of the United States’ most important non-Californian AVAs. From the city of Portland, it stretches southwards for 120 miles (190km) down the eponymous river valley, covering some 3.3 million acres (1.2 million ha) of land. Pinot Noir is by far the most popular and top-performing variety here. The best Oregon Pinot Noirs are regularly compared to their significantly more expensive counterparts from Burgundy.
The fertile Willamette Valley has been the most densely populated area of Oregon since pioneers began to settle in the early 19th Century. Viticulture began in earnest here in the late 1960s, when students from the University of California’s Davis campus looked north for inspiration, finding the climate in California unsuitable for Pinot Noir. In 1979, a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir beat a host of wines from Burgundy to take a place in the top three at the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades. This made the world take notice of Oregon and the Willamette Valley; vineyard plantings and international interest have increased steadily ever since.