A few hundred miles driven, twenty wineries visited, several dozen wines tasted, and suddenly 2015 is at an end. Going back through the tasting notes, there were some pretty good ones, and a handful of exceptional ones—many of which we bought and took home. This is the best of all of them, gauged not only by the tasting notes and memory, but also later tastings over some very nice dinners.

2013 Wildstock Pinot Noir by Scott Paul
Yummy briars and spice on the nose. The acidity is high and bright, with tart, dusty fruit flavors; raspberries and cherries. The fruit comes from three small vineyards in Amity, an appellation I’m becoming increasingly fond of, and will continue to explore.

2004 Panther Creek Cellars Reserve
When the tasting room manager poured a sample, she smelled it and shook her head. “Funky,” she said. Earthy was an understatement. But we were all in agreement the wine was good, with no taint or flaws. The “funk” was an intense horse barn and compost smell with a dash of dill. Hours after decanting, the “funk” had gone down and a spicy nose of white pepper, sage and cherry blossoms came up, for a remarkable experience.

2013 Colene Clemons Margo
A luscious, spicy nose full of dill, briars, tobacco and strawberries, followed by ripe cherries and cherry pie, raspberries and strawberries. My notes say, “A glorious wine for the price.” Jai and I got back in the car with a nagging feeling that it was a mistake to have only bought one. It was—it’s all gone now.

2013 Bergström Sigrid Chardonnay
Bergström presents their Sigrid Chardonnay in a Reidel Vinum Extreme Chardonnay glass—with Sigrid’s name on it—in a completely separate pour from their tasting flights. On the nose, a touch of butter—not overpowering—with apples, pears, and, surprisingly, pineapple. After that was a mouthful of pineapple, kiwi and ripe pears. There was an exquisite, long finish with mineral flavors at the end. There’s weight to this wine—although gravitas might be a better word. It’s certainly a powerful tribute to Josh Bergström’s grandmother.

2011 Alloro Riservata
Dark, intense, ripe black cherry and black currant on the nose. Ripe cherry (that elusive Chehalem cherry), raspberry on the palate. Earthy and briary, with a long finish. I shivered when I tasted this one.

2014 Brooks Reisling, and 2014 Sweet P
At a recent tasting, Brooks blew us away with their Rieslings like they always do. I’ve enjoyed them for years but I’d never before tasted their Estate Reisling next to the Sweet P. The wines are from the same vineyard, all farmed the same way. The only difference is that fermentation is arrested on the Sweet P, leaving residual sugar. An eye opening comparison of two fantastic wines that are immensely different from each other. It’s hard to pick one over the other—but why would you want to?

2012 Westry Cuvée 20
I was distracted from discussing vinyl reissues of the King Crimson catalog when winemaker/record lover David Autrey floored me with this gem. Enjoy a bottle with a new, 200 gram copy of In the Court of the Crimson King… now there’s an event.