2007 Row Eleven Pinot from Santa Maria Valley, California
2008 Domaine Drouhin from Willamette Valley, Oregon
As a precursor to this "battle" let me tell you that I attribute the wines from Santa Maria Valley with credit for the great love I have for Pinot Noir. The wines are so diverse. They are usually full of the spicy red fruit characteristic I love while almost always being fruit forward and juicy.
The '07 Row Eleven Pinot didn't disappoint. This wine shows bright red fruit, lots of spice, and a touch of oak on the finish. It should retail for about $35, a price I think it is well worth! For wines with fruit picked four years ago, I'd say the 2007's are holding up beautifully!!
After tasting the California Pinot, I was a bit disappointed by the Domaine Drouhin. I think the wine is just too young. It really needs food.. or at least food really adds to its enjoyability. The next day it was much more approachable, though. Retailing for $45, this might be the first 2008 Willamette to let me down this year!
... And California wins this battle for me!!