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Rece$$ion Busts

Of the 42 Oregon Pinot Noirs priced at $25 or less, I only found five that I don’t believe will lift your spirits in this recession.

2006 Belle Pente Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $23. This has been a consistently fine producer of Pinot Noir and this may have been an off bottle. I did not have a second bottle to sample. · Primarily oak and cigar box on the nose with a hint of ripe berries. In the mouth there are flavors of black cherries with a heavy dose of smoke and oak. The tannins are soft and the texture is silky. Just too much oak for its own good.

2005 Cherry Hill Winery Papillon Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $15. From a 90-acre vineyard planted to Pommard and Dijon clones. · Lighter colored. Shy aromas of grass, mint and oak. Grassy red fruits on the attack with notable tannins on the finish that overwhelm.

2006 Phelps Creek Vineyards Becky’s Cuvee Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $20. A blend of Columbia View, Jewitt Creek, Wy’east and Phelps Creek Estate vineyards. · Aromas of grapes, red berries, flowers, chalk and cola. The fruit is very delicate and flat and carries a vegetal note. Flamboyant tannins and sharp acidity.

2007 Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $15. · Light reddish-purple color. Unusual aromatic profile of herbs, green underbrush, mustard and a touch of fecundity. In the mouth there is restrained red cherries and strawberries with a vein of savory herbs running through. Light and clean with a short finish. Tastes much better than it smells.

2007 Zoot Allures Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13% alc., $19. Second label from J. Christopher Wines in Linn, Oregon that is very popular. · Shy brambly red fruits with Mediterranean spice on the nose with some alcohol peeking out. This wine is light in weight displaying decent earth-dusted cherry, cranberry and rhubarb flavors but there is some green notes that would suggest under ripe fruit. The acidity is fine and the tannins are held in check. Great label.

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