It was a beautifully warm July night with a gorgeous sunset expanding over the horizon. A fillet of very fresh, wild-caught Copper River Salmon was looking for a good partner and out of my cellar came a 2004 Westrey Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valleyfor the occasion.
Such a full-flavored fish needs little additional fanfare, so I just sprinkled the fillet with fresh Savory from my garden along with a spattering of red sea salt and fresh ground pepper and quickly pan-roasted it to medium-rare. Then served it with a baby arugula salad from a local farm stand and some crusty, warm bread from the famous (in McMinnville anyway) Red Fox Bakery.
The Westrey seemed a bit harsh at first, but soon opened into a silky complexity that brought alive the palate in a perfect counterpoint to the dense, rich salmon. A spot-on example of the wired, electric richness that makes for great Oregon pinot noir this 04 Westrey Reserve is not only delicious, but a bargain at under $30. The initial tightness of this pinot underscores the necessity of decanting young Oregon pinot noir. A short exposure to oxygen will give you a wine with more complexity and balance. The reductive style of winemaking required to make outstanding pinot noir means that decanting young wines should be a standard practice. Let’s face it, with the entry level price for good pinot noir at $20 and well over $30 for real complexity, to not take the time to decant these wines if you’re drinking them young is a waste of good money and good wine.
As the last bite of this sumptuous salmon crossed my lips, the Westrey just hit its stride and a good stride it was as this pinot noir will challenge far more expensive wines. Winemakers AmyWesselman and David Autrey (get the name of the wine?) continue to not only produce great values, but great pinot noir in Oregon.