In these comparatively austere times, it is a bit naughty to be talking about expensive wines, but as car journalists are still reviewing the latest high-spec BMWs, Mercedes and so forth, I am hoping you will cut me a little slack.

I almost missed tasting some truly lovely Oregon and Washington wines this week and was, quite literally, yanked back into the tasting room as I tried to leave for home.

I sometimes regret weakening to these sorts of requests. Not this time — the wines were absolutely tip-top.

The Cristom estate in Oregon covers 65 acres and, despite its size, has very much a Burgundian winemaking ethos at its core with the owner’s belief that it is the land that makes the wine. There are currently eight individual vineyard parcels, each named after family members, and with their own, unique soil and climate.

I had time only for the reds but cannot say I felt short changed.

The Pinot Noirs were enticingly fragrant with earthy, leathery overtones and fabulous vivacity of fruit. The Cristom Mount Jefferson Pinot Noir 2009 (The 2007 is £24.95 at was still in its infancy, whist the Marjorie Pinot Noir 2006 (£39.50 was beautifully mature and very much drinking, à point.

The two Washington State Syrahs from Gramercy I had in this last-minute line-up trumped the Pinot Noirs and I particularly liked the balance of rich, beautifully ripened fruit, the well integrated, refreshing tannins and the spicy, herbal and mineral nuances.

The Gramercy wines are made by one-time sommelier, Greg Harrington and in keeping with many of his trade who turn to winemaking, his wines have a real subtlety and elegance that make them particularly fabulous to drink with food.

If the premium bonds come in this month, I know what I will be buying.

Priced at just under £40, a selection of the Gramercy Syrahs can be bought from Uncorked (

I can wholeheartedly recommend the Lagniappe 2007 that was a triumph of complexity without pretension.

I promise to return next week with some more modestly priced possibilities.

To learn more about Sarah and to sign up for her wine postcards please go to