Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Willamette Valley-Fire, Volcanic eruptions, Earthquakes, Floods and coastal effects…..sounds like the makings of a new disaster movie however it is actually the makings of some great soil for one of the largest AVA in Oregon, extending from Portland to Eugene. Many factors contribute to a wines flavor, mostly what happens in the cellar however one of the elements is the soil the grapes are gown in.

The Cascade mountains on the East and Coastal mountain range to the West with low hillsides, which make up the 6 AVA (American Viticultural Area) regions in Oregon; Dundee Hills AVA, Chehalem Mountains AVA, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Eola-Amity Hills AVA, McMinnville AVA, Yamhill-Carlton AVA. This trip, we went to Newberg and Dundee area, here are some places we visited that will hopefully inspire you to visit this region too.

August Cellars-Family owned with a tasting room situated at the edge of 42 acre farmland of English Walnuts, Italian Prunes and Pinot grapes. August Cellars is must see for some finely aged wines and varity of offerings for this region in which you mostly taste Pinot's.

2009 Chardonnay-Willamette Valley AVA. Brilliant balance of fruit with expressive and unique finish.

2011 Dry Gewurztraminer-Willamette Valley AVA. Well balanced fruit with a touch of spice.

2012 Pinot Gris-Yamhill-Carlton AVA.  Honey and fruit glide smoothly and effortless thru the pallet.

2007-Pinot Noir-Aubre Vert Vineyard, Chehalem Mt AVA. Soft fruit with all the pieces that develop into something special.

2010 Baco Noir- Umpqua Valley AVE. I got fresh oysters on the nose right off!  Slow roasted fruit and vegetable richness, excellent wine to serve with BBQ.

2006- Mare'chal Foch-Willamette Valley AVA Hybrid grape which is bold and earthy.  Pairs well with Chanterelle mushrooms and game meats.

Four Graces- Charming old farm house renovated as tasting room, out buildings and outside space for bringing a lunch and sample some great wine produced with sustainable farming practices.  My favorite was the Small Batch #2 Pinot Noir 2013, for it complex flavors and finish which will get better with age.

Adelsheim Winery-Pioneers of the Oregon wine business and a true visionary. Adelsheim website has a nicely done video of their history, worth watching before you make a trip to this region. Their wines show true craftsmanship, quality and passion for fine wine. 
2014 Catlin’s Reserve Chardonnay- We fell in love with this fruit forward Chardonnay with lingering fresh finish.

White Rose Estates- The tasting room manager spent a good time with us explaining their process of Neo-Classical Winemaking.   A must see for the breathtaking view and education on their winemaking process.

Argyle -Beautiful new tasting room that is built on the spot of early hazelnut process plant, which is now where they craft their wines. This new space offers a relaxed way of offering tasting choices as flights. The House flight offered a Brut, Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir.  The Pop flight gave you choice of three different Brut's with one of them a Rose, which was excellent. The Diamond flight is all Pinot Noir offerings, these flight choices offer something for everyone.  I purchased the 2013 Nuthouse Pinot Noir for it's rich fruit and long finish.

Traveling the region, here are some recommendations for lodging and food:

Lodging: Inn at Red Hills

Breakfast/lunch/dinner -Babica Hen (in same building as Inn at Red Hills)

Lunch- SubTerra

Dinner- Recipe (be sure to make reservations)



Friday, February 12, 2016

Walla Walla Wine Tasting at McCall Hall

Another great year of wine is upon us and Denise and I kicked it off by attending the “Walla Walla Wine Tasting at McCall Hall” on Monday evening (February 8th).  This was our first time attending this event and it did not disappoint.

Forty-five wineries were pouring.  We sampled a few old favorites but enjoyed new ones we had never tried before. 

Five Star Cellars – 2011 Syrah – I tried this Syrah with duck and it was fantastic.  Food really brought out the flavors.

Foundry Vineyards – 2013 Chardonnay – This chardonnay was done in steel.  The fruit really shines.

Henry Earl Estates – 2012 Malbec – Very unusual Malbec.  Light with little to no tannins.

Kerloo Cellars – 2013 Les Collines Syrah – Great Syrah!  Can’t wait to visit them.

Tempus Cellars – 2013 Evergreen Vineyard Riesling – A nice refreshing Riesling.  Not too sweet but also not dry, just right!

These are just a few of the wineries we tasted at the event. I’m looking forward to attending this event again next year.  It was worth the ticket price and coming out on a work night.  Cheers! LaDonna