I spent half of my day off sleeping, “adjusting” to daylight savings and time springing forward.
The other half I spent walking up and down Main St. trying wine. Now, keep in mind that all I know about wine so far is what I like, so I can’t tell you which wineries had great acid, or which ones had superbly structured wines–yet! But some of my favorites were R. Stuart & Co. and Willamette Valley Vineyards.
The gold star for today goes to Willamette Valley Vineyards. It was my first stop, but I should have made it my last because that’s where I had the best experience. Their tasting room is decorated beautifully as a bar/lounge where you can sit down and hang out with friends as you try the time, and their 2011 Riesling–yum!! The nose on it had a beautiful green apple aroma and I could drink it all day. I want my house to smell like that wine!
I also learned a lot while I was at the tasting room, which is a huge part of the wine tasting experience. Kendra, my hostess, was friendly, informative and passionate about the wines (even though she said she was feeling under the weather that day!).
People perceive Willamette Valley Vineyards as a large production winery, but most of their cases are their Pinot gris and their entry-level Pinot noir. I was surprised to find that many of their other wines have a fairly small case production. It’s because they make so many different wines that they have a large grand total number of cases produced.
I learned lots of other things, like the fact that a rosé is always dry, and if your wine is pink and sweet or fruity, it’s a blush. I learned about the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass and how it was specially designed for Oregon’s cool climate and diverse soil wines. So much of the flavor of the wine comes through the aromatics, so the glass is shaped like a rose, directing the different aromas to your nose. The glass is also designed so the wine comes to a point as you drink, aiming directly for the spot on your palate that detects sweetness, since Oregon’s wines aren’t usually sweet. It’s such a great design and it fits an entire bottle of wine! (I have yet to test that out, but soon…)
So far, my favorite wines of all time (so far) are:
- Rex Hill 2009 Old Vine Chardonnay
- Scott Paul (any of the white burgundy he imports are delicious)
- Willamette Valley Vineyards 2011 Riesling (links above)
- Seven of Hearts 2011 Ice Princess Viognier sweet wine
|| August 13, 2013 addition ||
I’ve learned a lot since that first time in the Willamette Valley Vineyards tasting room (called the ‘Wine Center‘ in McMinnville), and they remain a favorite. I’ve since joined their club and gone back and bought about a case of wine to send to my family. Every time I walk in, I find something I like.
Kendra, who I’ve always had the fortune of running into when I go in, is always informative, friendly and welcoming. A lot of the tasting room experience lies in the people there, and she is definitely someone you should go visit. She knows an immense amount–not only about the WVV wines, but about wine in general.
I would recommend this tasting room, right in the heart of McMinnville’s downtown Third St., to anyone and everyone.
Visit their Wine Center, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, at 300 NE Third St. McMinnville, OR 97128.