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Oregon’s Willamette Valley 2021: Vintage report and top-scoring wines

Overall – despite the June ‘heat dome’ – the 2021 growing season in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was warm, and not hot, which may just be the template for a new classic vintage from the region. Slightly lower yields produced concentrated Pinot Noirs with fine tannins and Chardonnays of great freshness sure to become ageworthy collectables.

 ‘The resulting wines are brilliant. They offer great concentration, wonderful lift and freshness and such fine tannins… the top producers have made wonderfully collectable wines that will age 15 to 20 years. A five-star vintage for the Willamette Valley’

The 2021 growing season was memorable, most notably for the heat dome the region experienced in late June when temperatures reached up to 47.5°C (117.5°F). That heat spike set new records by 3°C to 6°C (5°F to 10°F) across the Pacific Northwest. While there was plenty of crop damage, grape vines seemed to come through unscathed.

Many Willamette Valley winemakers I spoke with described 2021 as ‘easy’ and, largely, it was. Particularly in the context of the heartbreaking 2020 vintage – a year which saw unprecedented smoke damage, resulting in many producers not even making red wines. By contrast, 2021 felt largely normal, particularly as growing seasons continue to warm up year on year.

Scroll down for tasting notes and scores of the top Willamette Valley 2021 red and white wines

Willamette Valley 2021: the top scoring wines

The following wines scored 95 points or above and are listed white then red in score order.

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