Your friendly Wine Bargain Sleuth can be a slow learner and not a little bit hardheaded about his love for the Big Reds, but I’m pretty sure he asked Santa for a trip to the Willamette Valley, Oregon wine country. Recently not one but two couples who are dear friends returned from separate Oregon fall pilgrimages, with both couples extolling the wine and the beautiful scenery of this rich wine growing region just south and west of Portland. No less of an authority than Wine Spectator magazine just devoted a major spread on the region, confirming the growing opinion that Oregon is the New World’s version of Burgundy, France, long the recognized Pinot Noir world leader. Although I briefly mentioned a couple of quality Oregon wines in November’s Chapter, this month’s Worth a Splurge Wine is the 2009 WillaKenzie Estate Jory Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir. A couple of deep tastes of the 2009 WillaKenzie will quickly tell you what all the fuss about the Oregon Pinots is all about: Cherry and cola flavors on the mid-pallet with a bit of smoky minerality on the finish, it is a lovely and complex wine that will pair with anything from a local Columbia River salmon to roast chicken or pork. Priced around $48, the 2009 Jory Hills Pinot Noir so impressed Robert Parker and Co. that its Wine Advocate rating was a very strong 91. Go ahead and splurge. You’ll be glad you did!