Hi everybody, can somebody help me classifying us major pinot noir appellations from delicate or lighter to full bodied. Would it go something like this,
willamette valley
russian river valley
santa lucia highlands
sonoma coast
carneros
Thanks for the help, i am trying to put a tasting together.
Original Post
That's pretty tough to do. Makers are doing various styles across regions. Do you know the wines you'll be pouring from each? That would be much easier.

That being said, I do think that OR should go first, as most tend to be more earth-driven and more delicate and balanced that their CA counterparts.
And, if you don't know the wines, I'd go like this:

Willamette Valley
Santa Lucia Highlands
Russian River Valley
Carneros
Sonoma Coast
On the cool side, the coolest is probably Marin County. After WV I'd put Anderson Valley/Mendocino and Santa Cruz Mountains. The problem with Sonoma Coast is it's too big - there are coattail riders in non-coastal influenced areas confusing the name. Make sure you're getting "true Sonoma Coast". RRV is quite capable of producing gorgeous delicate wines, but in some bizarre, perverted feedback loop they've mostly abandoned that in favor of a recipe for Cherry Coke.
There are a lot of variables at play here - which part of the appellation the vineyard is in, producer style, vintage et al. You could go purely on temperature, but i'm not sure that is a complete indicator of body.

There is also a question of which appellations to consider. Notable appellations missing on your list are the Santa Rita Hills, Santa Cruz Mountains and Anderson Valley (I would include all 3 of these ahead of Carneros which these days has a handful of high quality focused producers).

That said of you went with the typical style of these appellations i would say the following order from more delicate to fuller bodied:

Willamette Valley
Santa Cruz Mountains
Deep End of Anderson Valley
Sonoma Coast (the part West and North of the RRV)
Santa Rita Hills
Russian River Valley
Santa Lucia Highlands
Carneros
Thanks for your replys. I do realize this is not an easy one as indeed styles and microclimates vary substantially from appellation to appellation.

I did change the order of the tasting and went with the following 2008 vintages:

Argyle - Willamette Valley
Sonoma Coast - Pali Wine company Riviera
Russian River Valley - Loring
Sta Lucia highlands - Twelve clones Morgan
Carneros - Cuvaison

Clearly the preferred one was the Argyle, followed by Loring, Cuvaison, Pali and surprisingly Morgan last (I love Sta Lucia highlands but this 08 was not so good). The only clear marked style jump was from the Argyle to the Pali, thereafter the style was more similar. Will try to get into smaller appellations next time.

Thanks again.
Thanks for the update. Was the Argyle the Nuthouse Pinot, or the Reserve, or just the good ol' WV?
It was the good old WV; we were keeping the wines in the 25-35 range. I love Argyle and i hope to get to Oregon next summer and drink fantastic pinots. Thx for the help
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