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2018 Vintage Pinot Noir: An Embarrassment of Riches

The 2018 vintage of California and Oregon Pinot Noir is one to celebrate. The growing season was mostly uneventful in both states and there was no prolonged heat or dreaded temperature spikes. Ripening moved along at a steady pace and total tonnage at harvest was at near record-breaking levels. 7% of all the grape varieties crushed in California was Pinot Noir.

The chart below shows that the tons of grapes crushed in California in 2018 exceeded all of the previous ten vintages except 2013. This means there is currently plenty of superb domestic Pinot Noir in the pipeline, an “embarrassment of riches.”

Winemakers can often be over-exuberant in their praise for the quality of vintage but in 2018 their enthusiasm is no BS. Some have described the 2018 vintage as a “winemaker’s dream” and “picture perfect.”

It is time to stock your cellar, especially in the light of the problematic 2020 vintage. The reviews that follow in this issue reflect consistent excellence in the pinotsphere. The scores may seem inflated, but I can guarantee you that they are well-deserved. (Check the previous issue of the PinotFile, Volume 12 Issue 14 for more 2018 Pinot Noir reviews)

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