Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Noir, Pinot Noir. by violet

A few weeks ago, J. and I were down in Portland for his cousins wedding. Since the wedding was on Friday evening, it gave us the whole weekend to hang out.

J.’s parents were nice enough to invite us along for a whole day of wine tasting with good family friends. They scheduled a whole, wonderful day for us. It was incredibly nice and generous of them to include us in this classy affair. We drove just a few minutes outside of Portland to Dundee and visited five different wineries

It was an early start to the day and it was barely 11:00 a.m. by the time we arrived at Domaine Drouhin. But we weren’t the only ones who had gotten an early start on the day. They had three wines to taste the 2007 Chardonnay Arthur, the 2007 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley and the 2006 Pinot Noir Laurene. In case I haven’t mentioned, Oregon is the land of pinots and we had more than our fair share during this trip. I wasn’t that into the Chardonnay here – perhaps it was the cold weather or perhaps it was the fact that it was half aged in oak barrels and half aged in steel tanks. But both the pinots were lovely.

Liz and me enjoying a glass of pinot

I was most looking forward to Archery Summit. I had heard good things – it has been named one of Oregon’s best pinots and has even been served at the White House. Plus, it got the thumbs up from some of our other wine drinking friends, Teresa and Brooks. And it did not disappoint. As part of this special tasting weekend for club members (thanks again, Gerry and Margo!) the tasting was set up to take us through the cellars.

The cellars

Glasses ready for tasting

We even had a celebrity sighting, Matt Roloff and his son Jeremy were there apparently selling art. I was too busy trying to act like I didn’t notice to actually pay attention to anything.

There's Matt!

Along with the beautiful tour of the winery we tasted, the 2007 Renegade Ridge Estate, the 2007 Arcus Estate, the 2007 Looney Vineyard, the 2007 Red Hill Estate and the 2007 Archery Summit Estate – pinots all. The 207 Looney Vineyard was one of my favorites of the day. J. and I probably would have walked away with a bottle if it wasn’t nearly twice our budget.

Tasting notes: This wine opens with a profusion of black plum, blackberry and red current. The spice box (love that!) and rosewood here along with a lift of lilac and grape confection reminiscent of purple saltwater taffy. Here blue raspberry meet pluot with vanilla bean and cherry skin juiciness. The finish resonates with texture and confection.

All in all, yummy.

Next up, Domaine Serene which was French from start to finish. Much like Archery Summit, the tour took us through the whole winery. Here, I tired the 2007 Clos Du Soleil Chardonnay along with the 2008 Fleur de Lis Pinot Noir and the 2008 Cote Sud Pinot Noir, straight from the barrel. Because of that they were a little harsh but with a little more time in the barrel both will be delicious. I was particularly taken with the Cote Sud, mostly because I thought was “stud.” How can you not love a wine named Stud?

Domaine Serene
This way!

Domaine Serene won “best food of the day” - stuffed potatoes, mushroom tartes and enough cheese to make even me happy.

Yum - stuffed potatoes

Along with the great food was the Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, Winery Hill Pinot Noir, Jerusalem Hill Pinot Noir and Rockblock Reserve Syrah. Lots of our group liked the Jerusalem Hill Pinot Noir but I was partial to the Rockblock Reserve Syrah.

Me and Mr. P getting serious about the wine

Tasting Notes: A blended syrah with a focus on the very best lots and barrels from out growers in the Walla Walla valley. It is and intense, concentrated syrah, and, while it’s ready to drink now it will age gracefully for the next 8 to 10 years. (If only the same could be said of me).

Liz and I at it again

After that, I have to admit I was feeling the buzz. And it was time for the sandwiches at Vista Hills. We had a bottle of wine but to tell you the truth, I’m not even sure what it was, considering the way things were going it was most likely a pinot noir. Vista Hills had an amazing view of the valley as was a great place to stop for lunch.

Our lunch table

The view

Then it was off the Red Ridge Farms. Which is mostly know for olive oil but given the area, they, of course were offering wine tasting as well. I skipped the wine and was ready for a nap but the farm was really beautiful.

Pumpkins on the farm

It was a long and wonderful day. I’ve certainly expanded my wine horizons. What are your favorite wines? Do you have a winery that you like to go taste at?

1 comment:

  1. Actually that is not Matt Roloff. It is Matt's brother Sam Roloff, the Portland artist best known for Back-Story Underpainting.