A Taste of Pinot Noir (Part 1)
June 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been dying to go back to Willamette Valley to explore more of the Oregon wineries and local food since last summer. Willamette Valley in Oregon is known for growing the pinot noir grape. There is a huge range of pinot noir wines and it is so much fun to taste four different glasses of Pinot side-by-side and determine which style you like. I was also looking forward to picking up some rose wine made from the pinot noir grape, which is becoming more and more available, and is literally my favorite drink during the summer months.
Mickey had a 2-week window between graduating and taking the bar exam; the timing seemed perfect, so off we went! We had a been having a gorgeous May for the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to take Thursday and Friday off work to enjoy an extra day in Portland on the way to wine country. Best.decision.ever.
We spent the day taking our time driving to Portland and stopping for a Doritos taco (guilty pleasure!) along the way. Once arriving at the Heathman to drop off our car and belongings, we made our way on foot to the local breweries for some tastings. Our first stop was Deschutes for some tasting and some food.
Next up, Rogue.
After what seemed like too much beer for a sunny afternoon, we attempted to regain some energy with lattes from Stumptown.
Dinner was pretty uneventful, which is pretty disappointing considering Portland is a known foodie city (next time we will follow our friends’ recommendations!)
On Friday, we had brunch at Mother’s, which had a very welcoming atmosphere and excellent food. After brunch, we made our way to wine country (about 30 minutes) and stopped at Rex Hill for our first tasting. By then I was ready for a drink, and the winery was a great start to our tasting adventure.
We visited two additional wineries including Soter Vineyards by appointment only. As we walked up the driveway to the gorgeous glass-walled tasting room, we were greeted with glasses of their sparkling rose wine.
Inside, a table with 8 settings of four wines glasses awaited us.
While waiting for the other guests, we sipped our pink sparkles and enjoyed gazing at the beautiful green rolling hills and played with the friendliest big brown dog (and I swear every winery after had this same type of big brown dog!)
The tasting lasted an hour and was by far the best tasting experience I’ve had. I would recommend this winery to everyone!
We went into Dundee for lunch and settled on the Dundee Bistro as recommended by our Inn-keeper. We sat on the large patio in the sunshine and enjoyed another glass of wine! I thought the most interesting item on the menu was the cauliflower, bacon beingets. I was right…so.good.
Late afternoon, we checked in at Le Puy Inn. The place was clean and clearly well-thought out with updated rooms with large private bathrooms, soft linens and the fluffiest towels I’ve ever seen! I was surprised to find chocolate caramels and local hazelnuts waiting in the room for us, yum! The inn-keeper, Lea was genuine and so welcoming. She and I had emailed prior to our stay and she took the time to recommend several of her favorite wineries and restaurants and even made us the appointment with Soter and reservations for dinner.
We took the late afternoon to relax and read on the deck just off the great room. There was comfortable patio furniture and the deck overlooked Chehalem Ridge. Not a bad place to hang out with a book.
Dinner was at Recipe, a newer restaurant that had been getting great reviews in Newberg. I ordered the mushroom soup and a fish entree. The atmosphere was perfect, but the food could use a little work. It wasn’t bad, but the seasoning was a little unbalanced. I would probably still go back.
On the way back, we noticed the town was deserted! It was a nice reminder to take it easy and enjoy a slower life for the next couple days! Another fun day of pinot noir coming up…