I had initially planned to visit five wineries for Day 2 in Willamette Valley, but after our packed first day and Bobes coming down with a little cold, we decided to cut the day to three wineries and include a nice lunch in the town of Newberg.
Dundee Hills Pinotinerary
10:30am – leave Portland
11:30am – tasting at WHITE ROSE ESTATE
12:30pm – tasting at ARCHERY SUMMIT
2:00pm – lunch at RECIPE
3:00pm – tasting at ANDERSON FAMILY VINEYARDS
4:00pm – ship wine home via MAIL ROOM
4:15pm – head back to Portland
Upon pulling up to White Rose Estate, Bobes and I were in awe of the beautiful landscaping. In fact, we spent about five minutes snapping photos of the views and each other before even entering the tasting room, which was an interesting juxtaposition to the exterior. Inside was much more rustic, with an antique coffee set, leather furniture, and wire-cage lamps. The tasting room was quiet on a Tuesday afternoon, but there were two other couples from Connecticut and North Carolina. We were impressed that the winery attracted people from all over the country, that is until we tasted the wines and understood why! We were served three different Pinot Noirs, including the 2011 Durant Vineyard, 2011 Guillen Vineyard and the 2011 Anderson Family Vineyard. All of the wines were rather pricey ($60-80) but excellent, and Bobes and I each decided to purchase a bottle of the Durant Vineyard Pinot Noir. I liked the wine for its complex balance of ripe fruit and earth tones – a trait that Oregon is known for. We also loved the Anderson Family Vineyard Pinot from White Rose, and we were excited to visit their winery later in the day.
Our next stop was Archery Summit, one of the most well-known and oldest wineries in the Willamette Valley. It’s located at the end of a long unpaved road that starts just down the road from White Rose. The property is beautiful, with an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyards, wine caves, and private tours of their winemaking facilities and vineyards. We enjoyed our tasting outside on the patio and relaxed as we sipped on some of the best Pinot in the Valley, including the 2011 Permier Cuvee, 2011 Renegade Ridge, 2011 Looney Vineyard and 2011 Arcus Estate (their most expensive at $100 a bottle). I very much enjoyed the Renegade Ridge, but once I tasted the Arcus Estate Pinot I was in Wino Heaven. The wine opened with aromas of plum tart and black cherries, and I tasted more spice and dark fruit – like cinnamon and blueberries – that lingered on the palate in the finish. My father had warned me not to buy anything there because the wines are too expensive, but once I found out that they offered a 30% industry discount I caved and bought the Arcus, which is going directly into the vault! I would highly recommend visiting this winery to anyone touring the Willamette Valley. The staff was so friendly and accommodating, and their wines were outstanding and definitely worth tasting even if you don’t plan on buying.
After Archery Summit we headed North to the town of Newberg to have some lunch. Phillip at Sineann had suggested Recipe to us, and we’re so glad we took his advice. The restaurant is in a converted house with a beautiful garden patio, which is where we sat for lunch. Their lunch menu offers up a selection of appetizers, soup, salads, sandwiches and a burger – everything sourced from local farms and prepared simply (of course, we’re in Portlandia). I ordered the Burrata and the shrimp roll, and Bobes opted for the mushroom soup and flat iron steak sandwich. We split the shrimp roll and the sandwich, and agreed that the shrimp roll was only slightly better. Our service was a little slow, but we were beginning to notice how that was a bit of a trend in Portland. The food was tasty and reasonably priced and the restaurant is centrally located with its own parking lot, making it a convenient lunch destination between wine tastings.
After lunch Bobes and I headed off to our third and final winery of the day, Anderson Family Vineyards; a small operation lead by a husband, wife and tasting room manager. All grapes are estate-grown and they specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The tasting is conducted out of a converted garage space attached to the home of the husband and wife, and they offer two verticals of 08, 09, 10 Chardonnay and 07, 08, 09 Pinot Noir – all from their estate on Dundee Hill. They do this to show the differences and similarities of a wine from year to year, based on weather and other growing factors. For example, 2008 was an excellent year in Oregon for Pinot Noir because of late blooming and a warm October. And their 2008 Pinot Noir happened to be my favorite of the three. I was also impressed by their Chardonnays, in particular the 2009 (I found the 2008 to be slightly passed it’s prime, but still pretty impressive for an older vintage). There wines are very well priced at $24-40, and they have a pretty small production of about 1200 cases, farmed organically and aged slowly in their cool caves. The vibe in the tasting room is very casual and laid-back, and you really sense that it’s a family-run operation. The wines are top-notch and a great representation of the deep roots in the Dundee Hills. It was the perfect place to end our Pinotinerary, and I can’t wait to visit them again and taste new vintages.
Before heading back to Portland, we stopped at Mail Room in Newberg so we could get our wine packed up for shipping/flying. Bobes decided to pack his wine and check the box for his flight, but I purchased a total of 9 bottles so I had to ship mine back to San Francisco. When we put our wines down on the counter, one of the employees immediately noticed that one of the bottles was leaking a bit. It was one of the White Rose Durant Vineyard Pinot Noirs! However, the bottle was cool to the touch and the cork did not expand, and all the rest of the bottles in our case were fine, including the other bottle of White Rose. We had been very careful about parking in the shade and protecting the bottles from the heat, so it was strange that only one of them would have seemingly heat-related damage. In any case, we packed up our wines and called White Rose to see if they would exchange the bottle for us. As luck would have it, they said “of course, please come back and bring it in and we’ll make the exchange”. So we headed back down the road towards Dundee and up the hill to White Rose. The 25 minute detour was definitely worth replacing a $60 bottle of Pinot Noir, and it’s a good thing the guy at Mail Room was so perceptive! I would definitely recommend using them to ship any wines purchased on your next Portland Pinotinerary.
I had such a great first visit to Pinot Land, Oregon and I am so excited to go back again (hopefully with my father) and visit new wineries as well as some of my old favorites. I certainly have a new found love for Oregon Pinot – and it’s a good thing because I have 6 bottles to show for it!