Willamette vs. Russian River

Posted on 15-03-2017

Author: Mike Madigan

Date: 10/18/2015

For Pinot Noir, of course.  This has been something with which I have toiled for so long, as a longtime lover of Pinot, from any region really, but these two have always had my senses (along with a lot of space in my cellar).  And what’s the difference, before I decide a victor, truly offer my opinion if this is to be qualified an “opinion piece”.  Well, to start, Willamette Pinots are nearly always lighter, and if not always then generally they deliver more of that delicate feminine quality, whereas the Russian River Pinots will have more texture and weight to them.  Again, generally.  Willamette Pinots I will say have somewhat of a haunting quality that I don’t find in many Russian River’s.  That is, they stick with me, in my head and I spend the rest of the evening trying to translate and repeatedly review in my head what it was I tasted.So maybe I wrongly titled this piece, with the whole ‘vs.’ inclusion.  This opinion is really to solicit feedback of BuyWine readers and to see what you think, what is your opinion, what do you think is the difference, and to which are you drawn if you’re a Pinot-inspired sipper like me.  If I’m to stick to my “vs.” intentions, then I have to choose Russian River.  “But wait,” you’ll say, “it doesn’t have that haunting quality of the Willamette’s”.  True, but that’s just it, my RRV Pinots are honest, enveloping, their fruit is believable, rich, and wholly convincing, with a seemingly holy quality to them.  Russian River is practically the standard for Pinot Noir in America, many would say.  One of the many being me.  Not to say the Oregon Pinots are wimpy, or too light, or lacking in any area, they just don’t have the conviction and commanding flavor arrangements of a Russian River Pinot.  Funny, as right now, going through the edits of this very article, or “opinion”, I sip a ’13 Lucky Well Vineyard Pinot from.. well.. it doesn’t matter.  Russian River fruit from a notes Russian River producer, and I’m more than just a content consumer.  I’m convinced.
But, BuyWine readers...  What do you think?  Which do you prefer?