Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, May 15, 2006

Memorial Day In The Oregon Wine Country

Well, I'm back from my reconnoitering trip with Oregonians, Bob & Kathy Tovey. We had a great time. Bob organized a great trip. We had excellent dinners, to say nothing of the wines, at Nick's in McMinnville and Cuvee in Carlton. Tune in during the next few weeks for our impressions of various wines and wineries, but better yet go yourself this Memorial Day Weekend. Virtually all of the Willamette Valley wineries will be open including many that are usually closed to the public. You had better plan to stay in Portland or maybe Forest Grove since all the rooms around McMinnville will probably be sold out. If you live in Portland you can make day trips, although the Portland traffic is no fun.

Among the wineries usually closed most of the year, I would be sure to check out Beaux Freres, Eyrie, Bella Vida, Belle Pente, Beran, Bergstrom, Bethel Heights, Chehelem, Cristom, Dundee Pinot Station, Freja, Lachini Vineyards, Shea Wine Cellar, Sineann, and St.Innocent. Some wineries won't even be open Memorial Day Weekend or will only be open to the folks on their mailing lists. Ken Wright and Patricia Green didn't even bother. Soter is closed for construction. Prive and R. Stuart are open only to people on their mailing lists.

Among the wineries usually open, I would avoid Domaine Drouhin and visit another time as they require reservations and will be mobbed. These wineries are usually open summer weekends: Adelsheim, Amity, Archery Summit, Carlton Winemakers Studio, Elk Cove, Cuneo, Elvenglade, Erath, Maysara, Panther Creek, Penner-Ash, Ponzi, Sokel Blosser, Solena, Tyrus Evan, Van Duzer, Walnut City Wineworks, and Willakenzie Estate.

A substantial number of wineries charge tasting fees. While it could be argued that some are quite small and can't really afford to put on a big spread and pour a lot of wine, it appears that Oregon is beginning to catch the Napa Valley disease. The Willamette Valley wineries should consider an arrangement like Woodinville Passport which sells for $45 and covers tastings at all wineries.

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