It’s hard to pick among the world class Pinot noir at winery after winery when visiting the Willamette Valley. Then you stumble upon a royal, rich Pinot noir that also boasts the youthful excitement of a recent graduate. 2009 can be young for Pinot noir, but this Utopia Estate version is bursting with a vibrant candor, ready to be paired now with duck confit.
Utopia’s tasting room along Ribbon Ridge Road outside Newberg is only open on weekends. This is after all a tiny winery from Pinot noir genius Daniel Warnshuis that only produces a couple hundred cases a year. You can fortunately almost always find their Pinot noir at the Carlton Wine Studio a few miles away, as we did. Utopia’s Pinot noir was the stand out, a pitch perfect mix of nutmeg spice, pepper, and huckleberry jam. After a few sips you’ll be licking your lips in the same way you clean your fingers of barbeque sauce after having those outstanding Memorial Day baby back ribs.
I’m not the biggest fan of vague winery names like Utopia. After a sip of this Pinot noir though, the name is appropriate for the state of mind you’ll be in.