Seems like it's about time we sampled the latest from Oregon.

Seems like itís about time we sampled the latest from Oregon.

Itís a pretty major wine-making state (at least by U.S. standards) known first ó and possibly only ó for its pinot noir, although it produces a handful of other varietals.

And although California-made wines by far dwarf the selection of domestic bottles, Oregonís are often grouped with Washington, since both Northwest states are somewhat-prolific wine producers.

This 2011 Hedgeline Vineyards Pinot Noir ($12 at Brewerís Yard Kroger) is a decent example. The bottle label gives credit for the regionís underlying flavor profile to its ďlush mountainous highlands and arid desert lowlands.Ē

Before a sip, the scent is somewhat smoky; try it, and youíll find a smooth taste with raspberry and blackberry flavors and a bit of a peppery aftertaste. It mellowed out a bit with time (and a few sips), and went well with a root vegetable and beet stew. The same would likely be true of anything roasted or perhaps sausage-stuffed peppers or chunky-sauce pasta.

Want to put on a mini Oregon wine tasting? Look for labels from the Willamette, Rogue River or Umpqua valleys. A label Iíve heard a lot about for a while now and written about before is Cloudline. Although I wanted to discover something new here, Cloudline does make a much-acclaimed smooth pinot noir thatís readily available in Columbus.

Photo by Meghan Ralston