Friday, September 25, 2009

My kind of tasting experience

Today I was lucky enough to have 3 willing partners in crime for another wine country adventure. Allyson, Jackie and Jolie met at our house and we were out the door before noon. First stop, Montinore Estate in Forest Grove . We were impressed at first sight as this Estate sits up on a gorgeous piece of property and the aesthetic of the tasting room was really elegant and inviting. I think we hit the jackpot in terms of service. We were the only ones there and had Amy, the tasting room gal's undivided attention. She was throwing out facts about the winery and the surrounding area faster than I could write! Luckily, I found the video option on my camera, so I will attach a clip of Amy explaining the organic and biodynamic methods the winery practices. We tasted some nice wines and were shocked by the affordability of the bottle prices. Amy explained the owner prides himself on producing top quality, sustainable wine at a price point that doesn't break the bank. The most expensive wine on the flight was $35-which can often be the STARTING price of a Pinot in Oregon. Most wines at Montinore are less than $20. I was stoked with the Forest Grove Cellars (the 2nd label at Montinore) Merlot from 2007. I know many may be shocked that while tasting wine in Oregon, one ends up with Merlot in her bag. I, along with most of America was turned off from even considering Merlot (Sideways?), but after a week of tasting wines in Southern Oregon and Sonoma, I realized I really enjoy Merlot. So there you have it!

Amy mentioned that Argyle is now producing a sparkling Pinot Noir. This had our interest piqued, big time. It is like 2 rights making a super right. I was familiar with the concept from my days in Australia, where sparking Shiraz, served chilled was all the rage. I find my nearest and dearest to be vast in many ways, but one common thread seems to be a serious passion for bubbles. We immediately rethought our daily schedule and decided to make our way to Carlton for a bite and then cruise down to Dundee to taste this elixir for ourselves.

We made our way to the cute town of Carlton where several fabulous wineries and tasting rooms reside. We popped into the Horse Radish where we shared plates of cheese, olives, tuna and chicken salads and split 2 glasses of Patricia Green Pinot. Yummy!!! Our server suggested we head out the back door on our way out and peek Raptor Ridge's tasting room. By the time we were heading out, we realized we couldn't do it all and sticking close by was probably a better option than Argyle, which would have us in major traffic on the way home. Needless to say, Argyle is at the top of my list for the next trip.

We tasted several Pinots at RR and the highlight for me was a bone dry Pinot Rose. But I just couldn't bring myself to buy a bottle, as I am trying very hard let summer go, and having Rose readily available is not part of this strategy-sadly. RR's tasting room is shared space with the winery facility and apparently we just missed the fruit being delivered for fall harvest. That would have been a treat!

By the time we left Carlton it was after 4. Amazing how the day can fly! Although we only hit 2 tasting rooms, it was a long and leisurely day and I am fairly certain I can speak for my group in saying we gained some insider knowledge in the world of Oregon wine. The nuggets you glean from actually being in the "field" so to speak, cannot be found anywhere else.

On to the next!

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