Ponzi Vineyards

Classico Pinot Noir 2016

Willamette Valley


As one of the major wine publications once wrote, “All Oregon Pinot Noirs are measured against the Ponzi yardstick”. That has been true for nearly 5 decades, and Classico specifically represents the “classic” quality and style of Oregon and American Pinot Noir, benchmarks very much defined by the Ponzis. As a wine, Classico is meant to encapsulate the Willamette Valley at its best. Around 7-8 of the Ponzi’s vineyard parcels are complemented by a select few top neighboring sites to introduce additional soil types and exposures. All vineyards are at elevation and typically planted with older vines, and all either LIVE or organically certified.


Ponzi Vineyards is strictly committed to respecting the integrity of each vineyard, enhancing and maintaining their individual characteristics. The artistry and signature of Classico is in the blending of distinct cuvées from these vineyards. All Ponzi-owned vineyards are site-selected, hand-planted and managed by the family and their vineyard manager. The Northern Willamette Valley provides a moderate climate, soils and sites ideal for the culture of noble cool climate wine varietals. The different sites express distinctive territory and micro-climates. These differences, combined with knowledgeable varietal and clonal selections, are the determinants of the overall expression of varietal flavors, character and ultimate wine structure.


All of the fruit was hand sorted and destemmed. Fermented in small lots with five days of cold soak to increase aroma and color, the peak temperatures reached 90°F. The fermenters were aerated or manually punched down twice a day (for 12-20 days) before lightly pressing at dryness. This wine was aged in French oak barrels (26% new) for 11 months. It was racked and bottled by gravity without filtration or fining and was aged in bottle for 5 months before release.


For the last three years Ponzi has been defining the new normal with early vintages in the Willamette Valley. 2016 jumped out of the gate with bud break a full 3 weeks earlier than customary. Flowering was condensed by a heat spell and an early summer gave beautiful warm temperatures until August when it heated up. Harvest arrived later that month and was in full swing by early September. All fruit was in the door by the first part of October. Fruit quality was immaculate with absolutely no disease pressure. Fruit set was small due to the short flowering time. Berry size was also small resulting in lower yields and gorgeously intense fruit. I would liken 2016 to the 2006 vintage where we saw lush, beautiful wines with unexpected elegance and acidity, but in achingly short supply. Truly, a stellar vintage for Oregon.

Tasting Notes

“Aromas of ripe raspberry and black cherry are accentuated by crushed Mediterranean herbs of lavender, sage, rosemary and black tea. On the palate, dusty tannins are woven into hints of roasted coffee. Mouthwatering acidity is balanced by almond sweetness.”
-Luisa Ponzi, Winemaker

Food Pairing

Coq au vin. This Burgundian dish is almost synonymous with Pinot Noir! Chicken is simmered with mushrooms, red wine, lardons (bits of pork fat), onion and garlic. The acidity of the wine cuts through the fat of the dish and creates a nice texture in the mouth. A Pinot with a bit of earthiness will complement the flavors of the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and will not, of course, compete with the red wine in the sauce.



Grape Varieties

Pinot Noir


Willamette Valley


LIVE Certified Sustainable



Suggested Retail Price



"Sappy and expansive"

Vinous - August 4, 2020

"Brilliant red. Fresh cherry and black raspberry scents are complicated by suave floral pastille, succulent herb and baking spice nuances. Sappy and expansive on the palate, offering nicely concentrated, spice-tinged red and dark berry liqueur flavors that turn sweeter on the back half. Shows fine clarity on a long, penetrating finish farmed by silky, even tannins. 26% new oak."


"Fresh, linear style"

Jeb Dunnuck - March 27, 2020 "Moving to the reds, the 2016 Pinot Noir Classico is a pretty, perfumed, and complex wine that offers lots of spiced red fruits, dried flowers, and forest floor aromatics, medium to light body, a solid core of sweet fruit, and a fresh, linear style on the finish. It reminds me of a solid Côtes de Beaune and should drink nicely for 4-5 years."

"Textural and aromatic"

Wine Enthusiast - November 14, 2019

"This Ponzi Pinot offers brambly berry fruit wrapped in flavors of thistle and underbrush. It's textural and aromatic, with lavender, sage and dried herbs. Sourced from multiple vineyards scattered throughout the Willamette Valley, it saw one-quarter new French oak for 11 months prior to bottling."

"Sleek and layered"

Wine Spectator - November 14, 2019

"Lithe and delicately expressive, with aromas of fresh violet, cherry and orange peel, opening to sleek and layered flavors that linger on the finish."

More on Ponzi Vineyards Classico Pinot Noir 2016

Ponzi Vineyards Celebrates 50 Years, Insight From The Sisters At The Helm

March 25, 2020 - Forbes contributor Jill Barth recently spoke with second-generation sisters and owners of Ponzi Vineyards, President Anna Maria Ponzi and Winemaker Luisa Ponzi, as they celebrate their family winery's 50th anniversary.…

Good Day Oregon on Ponzi Vineyards 50th Anniversary

February 24, 2020 - Ponzi Vineyards President Maria Ponzi visits Good Day Oregon to talk about her family winery’s benchmark 50th anniversary this year. Together, they discuss the winery’s evolution and trailblazing past while…

Trade Materials

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