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Wine and Wineries

So many wineries and wines, so little time. When we moved to Yamhill County, Oregon in January of 2008, I thought I had just moved from a tropical paradise to a viticultural paradise. Wineries were everywhere, literally a couple of hundred of them up and down the Willamette Valley.  We did quite of bit of touring and tasting while we lived in San Jose, California; throughout Napa, Sonoma, Alexander and Russian River Valleys, plus Mendocino County and the Paso Robles viticultural region.  After touring just a few of the many wineries here, we were very surprised that the quality of both the tasting experience and the wines held it's own against any of the areas and wineries we toured in California.  And, for a guy who never could gain an appreciation for Pinot Noir, I have become a convert and ambassador for Oregon, more specifically, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  Now, one has to appreciate Pinots here because they are the predominate varietal, and I mean PREDOMINATE.

So far, we have not had to venture out very far to enjoy some great tasting experiences. One of our first stops was Erath Winery.  Erath sits on the slopes of the Dundee Hills in Yamhill County, has a spacious tasting room, has paring of food and wine at least twice a year timed when it releases it's quarterly wine club selections.  From there we ventured to Anne Amie Winery.  Perched on top of a ridge that in the Dundee Hills, the setting, with it's vista view, is one of the most magnificent we seen so far.  It has earned a reputation for producing some of the finest Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc around.    Another Dundee Hills notable winery, Archery Summit, also boasts a very nice tasting room and fine Pinot Noir.  Nearby, is Lange Estates Winery, with a recently remodeled tasting room, it offers the opportunity to taste several fine Pinot Noirs, two distinct Pinot Gris, one being one of the first releases a barrel-fermented reserve, which as receive high acclaim.  Still in the Dundee Hills (hope you are not getting bored yet, but this is what my military friends call a 'target-rich environment'), the next is Torii Mor Winery, which has a quaint, Janpanese-influenced tasting room and surrounding garden, offers another opportunity to taste some world class Pinot Noir.  It's probably time that I should warn you that, if you are like us, your enthusiasm for the tremendous and consistant quality of the wines at each winery, will leave you realizing in a couple of months, when you receive the credit card statements, that you sure did join a boat-load of wine clubs.

Still in the Dundee Hills, we stumbled acrossed a conclave of small boutique wineries, nestled at the end of Hilltop Lane, whose wines we found elegant, measuring up to the larger, longer established wineries in the area.  The first is Winter's Hill Vineyard, which produces, almost exclusively, pinot noir, with some pinot gris.  They also offer a several great dessert wines to finish off the evening with.  Next door is Picture of Vista Hills Treehouse Tasting RoomVist Hills Vineyard, another producer of estate-grown pinot noir and pinot gris varietals that have received high scores from The Wine Spectator and other wine publicatons. It's worth noting that Vista Hills just opened it's new Treehouse Tasting Room and Winery.  It is a beautilful, spacious facility featuring panoramic vista views.  Across the road is White Rose Wines which produces Pinot Noir exclusively.  Finally, back down Hilltop Road, is a new comer, Winderlea Vineyard and Winery. Winderlea new owners are already producing a limited production of finely crafted, age-worthy, pinot noirs.  They also have built an elegant new tasting room along Hilltop Road, which, together with the wines, makes for a great tasting experience.

Well, that's it for now.  The whole website will be changing, hopefully improving with each update.  Certainly, this section and the "wine and wineries" page will develope into an archive of write-ups on wineries and wines; recommendations for touring wineries, first in the northern Willamette Valley and ultimately, assuming our livers last, throughout the whole Willamette Valley.  Please email me if you have any comments, suggestions, questions, opinions, evaluations of the website, leads on how we can make a million dollars, anything.