Although I’ve lived in Vancouver for almost 10 years now, I’m still an Oregonian through and through. I love the rain (real rain, not the misty crap we get in Vancouver), I wear polar fleece on occasion, I’m a huge fan of IPA’s and I honestly can’t live without Tillamook cheese. I know what a day at the Oregon Coast is really like (windy and cloudy) and I appreciate a great pinot noir.
If you’re heading to Oregon (which you should do if you haven’t already!) and want to do some wine tasting here’s a few of my favourites. These wineries can easily be done as a day trip from Portland, or a quick stop on the way to or from the coast depending on what your plans are. There are many other great wineries in these areas too!
Argyle – McMinville/Dundee Hills: In addition to the usual suspects these guys do a great selection of sparkling wines. Anything with bubbles makes me sublimely happy! For $10 you get a tasting flight with good pours. Their tasting room is a cute old farmhouse with local decent art on display and for sale. They have a nice little garden you can wander through as well.
Sokol Blosser – McMinville/Dundee Hills: It doesn’t get better than this in my opinion. Just down the road from Argyle, the Sokol Blosser’s have nailed it with their selection of wines which include the moderately priced Evolution series and 1/2 a dozen different pinot varieties. One of my affordable favourites is their Rose Pinot Noir which sells for around $20. Their mid priced Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is always a crowd pleaser and when I visited they were pouring the Goospen Block Pinot Noir which goes for around $80. Sadly a bottle of that didn’t follow me home, but it was great being able to taste the different types of pinot. They have a nice cheese service you can get with your tasting, in their beautiful and modern tasting room. If you’re only going to visit one Oregon winery, this is the one!
Elk Cove Vineyards – Gaston/Yamhill Valley: This vineyard is essentially in my parents back yard, in the tiny, rather run down town of Gaston (no need for a stop here). It takes you by surprise as you leave the main road and wind back into the hills. You almost feel like you’re being transported to someplace in France or Italy. Vineyards cover the surrounding hillsides and it’s a lovely spot for a wedding! I visited their tasting room this past weekend and for $5 was able to taste 5 different wines. Although their pinot’s are good, it being 105 degrees the day I was there, I took home a bottle of their Pinot Grigio and their Late Harvest Riesling. Not usually a fan of the latter, which I tend to find syrupy and overly sweet, their late harvest was sweet, yet crisp with a wonderful tarty apple finish. The perfect way to end a hot summer’s day!
Oregon is one of those magical places that takes you by surprise. There’s so many different things to see and do, there is literally something for everyone. I’m not a flag waving American by any stretch, but I am damn proud to call myself an Oregonian!