IntoWine recently asked its panel of wine experts to recommend one Oregon pinot noir worth seeking out: Oregon’s Willamette Valley sits at roughly the same latitude as Pinot Noir’s ancestral home—France’s Burgundy region. While there are significant differences between the two regions in terms of soils and topography, the fact is that both are essentially cool climate, slow ripening regions that are ideal for producing flavorful and balanced Pinot Noir. Pinots from Oregon tend to have some of the delicacy and minerality that red Burgundy is known for as well as some of the ripe red fruit most typically found in California Pinot. Their alcohol levels are generally much closer to those of France (13% or so) rather than California (typically 14-15%). Many of them also exhibit a savory aroma reminiscent of forest floor or underbrush, what the French call “sous bois.” For me the most impressive Oregon Pinot Noirs in recent tastings, with wines I rated 92 points or higher, have come from Archery Summit, Belle Pente, Domaine Drouhin, Evening Land, Rex Hill, Roco, Scott Paul and Shea Wine Cellars. The best values among these wonderful examples are the 2009 Belle Pente ($35), the 2010 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard ($40), Scott Paul’s delicious 2010 La Paulée ($32) and Shea Wine Cellars’ 2010 Estate ($40). At an even more affordable price level, look for Coeur de Terre’s $20 2010 Pinot (89 points) and Patton Valley’s $20 2009 “Declassified” (89 points). Richard Jennings, IntoWine.com Featured Contributor and the Founder RJonWine.com.