Wine tasting expeditions – Hyland Estates (and some lessons on Croatian wine)

The other day I was invited to tour Hyland Estates and NW Wine Company as a guest of the McMinnville Rotary. It was quite ingenious how everything was set up at both NW and Hyland. NW has a cute bottling line that can be manned by eight people, and interestingly, an aquarium heater used for stuck ferments. Right in front of NW Wine Co. we saw some Pinot Gris vines and were told that the soil there was too rich for good Pinot Noir, but some white varietals could withstand it. Hyland’s tasting room reminded me of a conference center, with tables and a layout that would be perfect for small events or meetings.

Hyland also has nice patio seating that looks out a large window to some vines of different varietals they plant (mostly for display, I doubt they count on those vines to produce much of their wine) and a fireplace inside. There are times that their tasting room is set up so that the flight is spread out, giving people a flow to follow from station to station, making a circle around the tasting room to keep things from getting too crowded and to keep wine flowing.

We tried their 2009 Riesling, which quite honestly smelled like gasoline. I didn’t understand it at first, but I asked someone behind the bar what the wine was supposed to smell like, and he said diesel! Turns out, Riesling carries petrol notes in the nose, which gets more prominent with age. Aromatics are a huge part of wine for me, so I couldn’t make my peace with that one. I came away with a Gerwurts-something I can’t pronounce.

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Alright, on to Croatian wine. Zinfandel originated in Croatia! Warm climate, good for producing big reds such as Syrah, fruit forward wines, lots of mouth feel and reds will age for approximately five years. They have 200 grape varieties, 60 of which are indigenous, they produce approximately 70 percent white wine and 30 percent red. Approximately 1000 small wine producers take up 55 percent of the market, with three large producers taking up the other 45 percent. Their wines rarely are sold in bottles, instead coming in “growlers” (refillable!), driving the cost of production down. Wine clubs are unheard of. Wines must be classified by both type of wine (ex. Pinot Noir) and quality (table wine, quality wine, or superior quality wine). Some of their more famous grape varietals are the Grasevina (white, fruity, sometimes an ice wine when they get more than 20 days of -7 degree Celsius), Malvazija Istriana (white, golden, high alcohol), the Plavac Mali (red, Zinfandel hybrid) and a Skrlet (floral, fruity white).

Alright, that’s all class!

Visit Hyland Estates at 20980 NE Niederberger Rd in Dundee, Oregon, just off HWY 99W. The tasting room is open from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m. daily.

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One thought on “Wine tasting expeditions – Hyland Estates (and some lessons on Croatian wine)

  1. Pingback: List of Willamette Valley Oregon wineries | Rachel Andrea Ko Go

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