Wines from Willamette: Recent Recommendations

Domaine Serene Wines

Domaine Serene Wines

If you aren’t already familiar with Oregon wines, it’s a prime time to begin that education. We attended a wonderful wine tasting in San Francisco last week sponsored by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association so we can recommend specific wines to seek out (at local wine stores and/or restaurants) that are tasting delightful right now.  We also encourage you to consider traveling to the Willamette Valley wine country yourself and visiting some of these wineries in person.      


Willamette Valley Wineries Association 50 YearsThe region is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first Pinot Noir plantings (by David Lett and his wife Diana in the Dundee Hills) and today, more than 85% of Oregon’s Pinot Noir is grown here.  At last week’s wine tasting, Pinot in the City, these were our favorite Pinot Noir wines:

Bergstrom Wines

Bergstrom Wines

Archery Summit – 2013 Premier Cuvée Pinot Noir, 2013 Red Hills Estate Pinot Noir

Beaux Frères – 2013 Beaux Frères Vineyard Pinot Noir

Bergström Wines – 2013 Silice Pinot Noir, 2013 Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir

Colene Clemens Vineyards – 2012 Adriane Pinot Noir, 2008 Colene Clemens Pinot Noir

Domaine Drouhin Oregon – 2012 Laurène Pinot Noir

iOTA Cellars

iOTA Cellars

Domaine Roy & Fils – 2013 Maison Roy Incline Pinot Noir

Domaine Serene – 2012 Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir, 2012 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, 2001 Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir

iOTA Cellars – 2012 Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir

Nysa Vineyard – 2008 Leda’s Reserve Pinot Noir

Panther Creek Cellars – 2013 Schindler Vineyard Pinot Noir

Patton Valley Vineyard – 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, 2012 10 Acre Pinot Noir

Shea Wine Cellars

Shea Wine Cellars

Shea Wine Cellars – 2012 Estate Pinot Noir

Sokol Blosser Winery – 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, 2012 Big Tree Block Pinot Noir

Soter Vineyards – 2010 Mineral Springs Brut Rosé, 2013 Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot Noir, 2002 Beacon Hill Pinot Noir

Stoller Family Estate – 2013 Pinot Noir, 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir

Tendril Wine Cellars – 2012 White Label Pinot Noir

The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s leading wine region and encompasses 3,438,000 acres between Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and the Coastal Range. This scenic area is home to 440 wineries (over two-thirds of the state’s wineries) and 647 vineyards. One of the premier Pinot Noir producing areas in the world, the Willamette Valley also successfully grows other cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling.

At the recent tasting event, we loved these white wines:

Stoller Family Estate

Stoller Family Estate

The Willamette Valley is a lovely travel destination and contains small towns such as Carlton, Dundee and Newberg as well as the larger city of McMinnville. The valley is brimming with charming inns, world-class dining, and attractions such as art galleries, museums, gardens, farmer’s markets, nurseries and hazelnut farms.

If you venture that way, these are some restaurants we strongly encourage you seek out (as well as some of our favorite dishes from past experiences):

Dungeness Crab Cakes

Dungeness Crab Cakes at The Blue Goat

  • The Blue Goat (Amity) – Sunchoke Soup, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Smoked Chicken Pesto Pizza
  • Carlton Bakery (Carlton) – Vanilla Bean Macarons, Lemon-Lavender Shortbread, Apple & Cherry Fruit Tart
  • Red Hills Market (Dundee) – Wood-Fired Margarita Pizza, Roasted Turkey Sandwich
  • Nick’s Italian Cafe (McMinnville) – Meatballs, Beet Salad, Roasted Eggplant Tagliatelle
  • Ruddick/Wood (Newberg) – Grilled Steak Sandwich, Hand-Cut Fries with House-Made Ketchup
Soter Vineyards

Soter Vineyards

When you’re ready to plan your own excursion to the area, you’ll want a copy of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s bi-annual winery guide and touring map.  Timing-wise, you may also want to know that the WVWA-sponsored Wine Country Thanksgiving (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and Memorial Weekend in Wine Country (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) are the two oldest and largest wine touring events in Oregon (and each typically includes wineries that aren’t normally open to the public).

Whether you actually travel to the Willamette Valley in Oregon for a wine tasting excursion, or just armchair travel from your living room with wines you bought at a wine store, you’ll be glad you made the trip.



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