Willamette Valley Wines

Our visit to the Brix Wine Shop Oregon wine tasting on Friday got me thinking about my very brief trip to Oregon wine country last summer. I was in Portland for our National Sales Meeting, and while I did not get to see too much of the city, we were treated to some fabulous meals and a half day trip into the Willamette Valley wine region. On a cool and cloudy summer day, we boarded vans from Portland and drove out to the Willamette Valley. While there were some similarities to California wine country, this region had a feel all its own. The climate is definitely different, more rainy, creating more of a lush green valley, a contrast to the very dry Napa and Sonoma we saw this past summer!   DSC01600[1]DSC01592[1] Throughout the course of the day, we visited 3 wineries, Sokol Blosser, Erath, and Domaine Drouhin. We tried about 15 wines over the course of the day, just tasting sips. There was a lot of variety, but of course the name of the game here in Oregon was my love, Pinot Noir. This tasting was awhile back, but the wines that stand out the most were the Erath Gewurtztraminer, Erath Oregon Pinot Noir, Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noirt, and  Domaine Drouhin Laurène Pinot Noir. For tasting notes, please visit the wineries’ sites as it has been a very long time. I will have to try these wines again to remember more details and to see if I still like them, but I definitely know that you can not go wrong with any of these wineries. Last summer, I purchased 6 bottles at Erath, 4 Pinot Noir and 2 Gewurtztraminer. Let me tell you that trying to get a half case of wine home on a cross country, 6 am flight when you were out at a work dinner until about midnight the night before is not fun. Picture me, laden down with luggage, and pushing a box of wine with my foot across the airport floor. Then imagine me, who thought for some reason that Erath wine could only be purchased at the vineyard, when I found it at Trader Joe’s the following week. Live and learn. DSC01573[1] DSC01575[1] You can also visit the wineries’ websites for more photos. This region is absolutely stunning with my idea of perfect weather. It was nice to leave the hot Boston summer and to be able to feel really chilly nights and just warm enough days. Though my visit to the Willamette Valley was just a taste of what this region has to offer, I already know that I love it and want to return to the Pacific Northwest to visit more wineries and to write about the uniqueness of the wines that this area has to offer. Portland also seems like a great city with some really good restaurants. I can recommend the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel in Pioneer Square and Vino Paradiso for group events. If you have ever been to or live in Portland or the Willamette Valley wine region, I would love to hear some of your favorites. I am not sure when I will go back, but its always nice to have recommendations! By the way, my absolute favorite Pinot Noir at the moment is Belle Vallée 2008 whole cluster Pinot Noir. It is delicious, but I am working my way through a variety of Pinots. I think they may call for a separate post altogether. . . Do you have a favorite wine right now? If you have any recommendations let me know!

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Tags: Oregon, Pinot Noir, wine

  1. Jessica’s avatar

    That looks like such a blast! Gorgeous photos!

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  2. burpexcuzme’s avatar

    Sounds like such a great experience! but unfortunately, I’m not a alcohol-drinker. They just don’t sit well with me, and I haven’t learned to appreciate them yet. I hope we’re not required to have that wine tasting they said in the Foodbuzz Fest?

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  3. talesfromtwocities’s avatar

    Looks amazing! I’d love to visit the vineyards out there!

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  4. Simply Life’s avatar

    Wow, what a wonderful experience!

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  5. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite’s avatar

    “Picture me, laden down with luggage, and pushing a box of wine with my foot across the airport floor” Sorry honey – I am rolling on the floor laughing at this image!!! Great post, though – thanks for all the info!

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  6. Timothy Nishimoto’s avatar

    Thank you for your kind words about my wine bar & bistro, Vino Paradiso, in Portland!! It sounds like your trip was great! We actually do winery tours, as well, and so, have been to the Willamette Valley wine country quite a few times. My favorite area, currently, is the Yamhill-Carlton AVA within the Willamette Valley AVA. Visit Lenne, WillaKenzie, Patricia Green, Beaux Freres, Soter, Lemelson…these are all either in, or just outside of, this area, and all very close to each other. You mentioned that there are similarities between Napa/Sonoma and the Willamette Valley, and there are some. But, having just been to Napa a couple of weeks, I was reminded once again just how amazingly beautiful my backyard wine country is!!!!

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  7. Menden (Skinny Menny)’s avatar

    I’ve really enjoyed some of the Oregon Pinot Noirs I’ve tried! Unfortunately, I don’t have any good recommendations for you, but I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for the Belle Vallee…thanks :) Oh, and love the mental image of you loaded down with all that wine cross-country, lol! Totally sounds like something I’d do ;)

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  8. traveleatlove’s avatar

    I thought about abandoning the wine at one point, and then spent the flight worrying that I would be greeted by a wine soaked, glass filled box at the luggage belt in Boston!

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  9. traveleatlove’s avatar

    I would recommend all of the wineries I visited! It ended up being worth it to haul the wine across the country :) Delish!

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  10. traveleatlove’s avatar

    There is definitely a beautiful lushness about Oregon that we didn’t see in Napa! Thank you for all of the recommendations. I loved my short visit to Portland, and I have lots of great excuses to come back!

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