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, June 23, 2008

The Tovey Report

The Steins and Toveys made their annual wine pilgrimage to the Willamette Valley this year. Our last trip was in May 2006 and lots of things have changed - new motels, new wineries, new ownership at some wineries. Despite the large numbers of people participating in the three day Memorial Day event, we were able to get around with relative ease. It helped to avoid the big name wineries. Our focus was on wineries only open once or twice a year. Of course, some wineries that are regularly open were closed - Econ 101.

We ate at the following three restaurants. Nick's Italian Cafe is now operated by Nick's daughter and her husband - as usual, excellent food and service. The food and service at Tina's was terrific. Tina's reputation is well deserved. The last night at Maison Bistro, the food was good but maybe a notch below the others.

On the wine front, there were the usual disappointments, some surprises, and a little bit of "wow." Several of the big name wineries had some very good wines, but nothing that said "wow." On the first day, we were able to visit six wineries in the Yamhill area: Aramenta, Groshau Cellars, Beaux Freres, Lachini, Penner-Ash and Patricia Green. We also visited Panther Creek and Eyrie at the end of the day. Our palates were most impressed by Lachini, Eyrie and Panther Creek. At these last two, we were able to taste from the barrel and chat with the winemakers both of whom are young, personable, accessible, and full of great ideas about how to make wine. We thank them for a great way to top off the day.

On Sunday we spent time in the Dundee area visiting Bella Vida, De Ponte, Erath, Lange, Maresh, Tori Mor and Winderlea. The four that caught our palates, were Tori Mor, Maresh, Winderlea and De Ponte. Tori Mor had many outstanding wines. At Maresh, we had a great conversation with Jim Maresh, one of the Willamette Valley pioneer grapegrowers. Winderlea's first Pinot Noir was rich, fruity and well-made. Their new winery building on the newly purchased Goldschmidt vineyard is modern in style with an open feeling and a grand view of the vineyards. The "wow" of the day was De Ponte. Every wine we tasted was outstanding, both the reds and whites. All the wines had a terrific sense of fruit, were rich, and clung to your palette with a long lasting finish - another friendly, open, creative winemaker.

Go! You will not be disappointed!


  • At 11:21 AM, Blogger Catie said…

    Go! We will! In fact, we are headed out this weekend to Willamette via Portland and onto the beach for a few days. Any must taste Pinots?

  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Hi Catie! Have fun! Here are three absolutlely "must" Pinots - Panther Creek, Tori Mor and De Ponte. Panther is in McMinnville, the other two in the Dundee Hills not too far off the highway. Gene


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