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Owen Roe

Owner(s) David O'Reilly, Gerald Owen
Web site
Link to this site

David O'Reilly is one of the few Irish-born winemakers in the United States. His family fled Belfast at the height of that city's friction between Catholic and Protestant factions in the late 1990s. The family originally settled in British Columbia before David headed south to California where he majored in philosophy.

During O'Reilly's travels, he visited Oregon's Willamette Valley, where he was smitten and he landed a job at Elk Cove Vineyards, where he befriended one of the seasonal assistant winemakers, Peter Rosback, who was also Irish. Together they left Elk Cove and Rosback founded Sineann (named after Ireland's Shannon River) and O'Reilly started Owen Roe (named after the famous Irish patriot who held off Cromwell's army before being poisoned with some evil breakfast cereal). Along with partner Gerald Owen who manages the vineyards, O'Reilly crafts powerful Pinot Noirs as well as Chardonnay, Riesling, and several red varieties. Some of the vineyard sources are in northern Oregon and Washington.

O'Reilly Pinot Noir and Owen Roe Sharecropper Pinot Noir are Willamette Valley blend that are inexpensive and wildly popular. Single vineyard Pinot Noirs come from Kalita Vineyard and Merriman Vineyard. A unique Pinot Noir is sourced from the Santa Maria Valley.

The winery is located in Newberg and is open by appointment. The winery produces 50,000 cases per year of all wines. To purchase, use the e-mail contact on the website.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $42. Winemaker David O’Reilly is one of the few Irish-born winemakers in the United States. This wine is named after the Kilmore Doorway which is displayed on the label in a photo. This Romanesque doorway was a sculpted entrance to the ancient Trinity Island Abbey in County Cavan, Ireland. Here the great patriot Owen Roe O’Neill sought solace during his quest for Irish independence. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon clones from vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton District. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers an array of enticing aromas including raspberry, dried cherry, sassafras, leather saddle and sandalwood. Modest in weight, but highly flavorful, the wine offers notes of black cherry, black raspberry, spice, dark chocolate and coffee. Very gracious and easy to drink now, this beauty has the balance and tannic backbone to age effortlessly in the cellar for 5 to 10 years. I loved the 2010 vintage of this wine, and this vintage is a hair better. Score: 95. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 988 cases, $42. Sourced from Lennè and Merriman vineyards. Aged in 33% neutral, 39% 2-year and 28% 1-year French oak barrels. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon Clones. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued but very pleasing aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, plum and violets. Hits the mid palate with enormous tenacity, offering delicious black raspberry, marionberry, cola and vanilla cream flavors which linger on the spiced, fruit-scented finish. Very soft and alluring in the mouth. Plenty of Pinot singing in this sensational wine that is ready to drink now. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Owen Roe Sharecropper’s Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $21. · Deep ruby color. Amazing nose of crushed berries with a lovely roseate accent and some subtle oak toast in the background. Light in style and soft in texture with more restrained acidity than the 2007 version. Earth and oak notes in the background augment the berry flavors. A little lacking in the short finish, but overall this is a very pleasant drink for the tariff. Reviewed August 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2008 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $35. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon clones from selected unnamed vineyard sites. · Moderately deep color. Subdued aromas of berry compote, wet earth, mushroom and subtle spice. Hints at greatness but is closed. Tight in the mouth offering glimpses of black cherry fruit and some mocha magic. Nicely crafted, but like many 08 Pinots from Oregon, just not exciting now and needs cellaring. Very good. Reviewed August 7, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Owen Roe Sharecropper’s Oregon Pinot Noir

This is a very popular Pinot Noir sourced from several Willamette Valley vineyards. Like the O’Reilly’s, crafted by David O’Reilly. · Unique and pleasurable aromas of strawberry tart, brioche, sandalwood and vanilla wafers. Primarily strawberry flavors with a hint of root beer. Nicely balanced with soft tannins and a dry, clean finish. I like this wine because the acid doesn’t overpower as it does in many Oregon 2007 Pinot Noirs. One of the best 2007 under $25 Pinot Noirs I tasted. Reviewed March 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Owen Roe Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $36. A Santa Maria Pinot Noir from an Oregon producer. Sourced from Bien Nacido Vineyard. The winemaker is David O’Reilly, one of the few Irish born American winemakers. The image of an old Mission Church along El Camino Real in California is on the label. Aged in used barrels. · Deep purple color. The nose is brooding with ripe plum, fig and barnyard aromas. Plentiful ripe black fruits drifting toward Syrah in heft and flavor profile. Full-bodied and smooth in texture. A big fruit-driven wine that lacks Pinot charm for me, but is the current preferred style of this winemaker. Reviewed March 3, 2008 ARTICLE »