Willamette Valley, Oregon
The Missoula Floods, which occurred at least 40 times between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago, made Oregon's Willamette Valley a great place for agriculture, from Christmas trees to hazelnuts and hops for beer. Wine grape production took hold in the 1960s, and the climate has been good for fickle pinot noir fruit. Jim Bernau founded Willamette Valley Vineyards on the site of a plum orchard in 1983. He uses the Burgundian model of using whole clusters of grapes, in which fruit of varying ripeness yields wines with depth and character. On the palate, taste red fruit including strawberries and Bing cherries and good acidity. Drink it with roast turkey, duck confit and other fowl, slowly braised beef short ribs, grilled tuna, salmon, pork, lamb, veal chops, cherries jubilee and blueberry cobbler. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellar, Fresh Market in Metairie, Dorignac's and most Rouses. Drink it at: Red Fish Grill, Salon Restaurant by Sucre and Ciro's Cote Sud.