Wine & Travel

Snooth User: vin0vin0

Recent Trip to Eugene OR and side trips to Salem

Posted by vin0vin0, Jul 9, 2013.

With regards to JTRYKA, looks like we weren't the only ones visiting the Northwest wine country recently.
 
We traveled to Portland OR, to visit our son for the week of the fourth of July but he was at a music festival the first weekend we're here so what to do?
 
How about a little trip south into wine country!
 
Last time we were here we stomped around the wineries near Newburgh and Dundee, so for this trip I decided to head out a little further afield and check out the Eugene area (with a stop in Salem on both ends just for good measure).
 
This is Pinot country and the typical tasting menu consisted of 2-3 whites (mainly Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc) and 3-4 Pinot Noirs. Kind of surprised that there wasn't more Chardonnay.
 
Our normal routine is to split one tasting and then buy one or two bottles of what tasted best.  I find that we can do an adequate job of tasting, visit a decent number of wineries and still be standing at the end of the day.
 
Here are the places we stopped and the purchases we made (unfortunately I didn't take detailed tasting notes but I do have the tasting sheets):
 
Saturday (Salem)
Cristom Vineyards
Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve - 2010
Viognier - 2011
 
St. Innocent Winery
Chardonnay Freedom Hill Vineyard - 2011
Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard - 2011
 
Bethel Heights Vineyard
Gewurztraminer Rogue Valley - 2010
Pinot Noir Flat Block - 2009
 
Saturday (Eugene)
Eugene Wine Cellars
Pinot Gris - 2011
Recess Red - NV
 
J. Scott Cellars
Roussanne - 2011
 
Sunday (Eugene Northwest)
Benton-Lane Winery
Pinot Gris - 2011
Pinot Blanc - 2011
 
Brigadoon Wine Co.
Pinot Noir Lylee - 2011
 
Pfeiffer Winery
Blushing Bride Rose - NV
 
High Pass Winery
Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest - 2002
 
Domaine Meriwether
Brut Vintage Cuvee 2001
 
Monday (Eugene South)
Noble Estate Vineyard
Pinot Noir - 2010
 
Silvan Ridge Winery
Pinot Gris - 2011
 
 
Sarver Winery
Pinot Noir Elhanan Vineyard - 2010
Pinot Noir Elhanan Vineyard - 2009
 
 
Tuesday (Willamette)
Sokol Blosser Winery
Estate Cuvée Dundee Hills Pinot Noir - 2009
Estate Cuvée Dundee Hills Rose of Pinot Noir - 2012
 
Torii Mor Winery
Pinot Blanc Yamhill-Carlton - 2011
 
ArborBrook Vineyards
Pinot Gris Croft Vineyard - 2012
Origin 1886 Pinot Noir - 2010
 
Ponzi Vineyards
Anniversary Pinot Noir Reserve - 2010
 
For me, the wine highlight/aha moment of this trip was the Domaine Meriwether 2001 bubbly.  Although it was the only sparkling wine we had, it was fantastic!  Vibrant, dry, toasty, slightly yeasty with a really nice finish and for $30 we felt like we were stealing.  This rates up there with some of the best I've tasted.  They hold onto their wines until they feel like they're ready for drinking, so in addition to the 2001 cuvee we also taste a 2000 vintage sparkling, a 2007 Pinot Gris, a 2000 Pinot Rose sparkling and a 2006 Pinot Noir.
 
In general, for reds, the Salem area Pinot Noir was much better than the Eugene area offerings.  I thought that Ponzi stood slightly above all the others with Bethel Heights and Cristom right on its heels.
 
The major attraction with the Eugene wineries was the friendliness of all the people in the tasting rooms and the lack of crowds.  We were usually the only people there (even on the weekend part of the outing) and on more than one occasion we had family members pouring us their wine and on one occasion entertaining us with an accordian solo.  Also, the prices were noticeably lower.
 

Replies

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Reply by jtryka, Jul 9, 2013.

What an excellent report!  I lived in Portland from 1999-2002 and had a number of visits to the Dundee area for wine tasting, but unfortunately I was never as into the Pinots as I was the bigger reds of the Columbia Valley but I do recall that Ponzi and Sokol Blosser always had nice wines, I was also a fan of Elk Cove Pinot Noir and have found it occasionally here in the midwest.  Thanks for sharing your experience, sounds like you had a wonderful time!

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Reply by MetteinCoMo, Jul 9, 2013.

What an interesting trip!

My husband and I have the exact same strategy when tasting and buying wine. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten a chance to travel to Oregon yet, but after reading about so many great  trips to the area, it's getting higher and higher on our list.

Thanks for sharing!


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