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Visit to Oregon and Washington wineries - please help

Visit to Oregon and Washington wineries - please help

Jul 7th, 2012, 06:55 AM
  #1  
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Visit to Oregon and Washington wineries - please help

We're in the process of planning a trip up north to visit Oregon and Washington wineries. We prefer smaller wineries that do good wines but aren't well-known outside their own region/state. Since we tend to visit a lot of wineries, those that offer free tastings will get some priority from us, but we will pay for tasting at a good winery.

Problem is, it's been years since I've visited the Willamette Valley and even more years since for Eastern Washington, so I'm at a loss as to which are the "good" wineries. Can you please help?

What are the good small wineries in Oregon and Washington? Is the Rogue Valley wineries worthwhile? What about the Columbia River wineries?

We usually come home with several cases of local wines. Are there any wines this year that you would specifically recommend acquiring, wines that can't get obtained outside of Oregon/Washington?

TIA for any help you can give us!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 07:06 AM
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I'll start with Drew Bledsoe's winery near Walla Walla WA.
http://www.winemag.com/Wine-Enthusia...-Drew-Bledsoe/
Drew chose to build his beautiful new house in Bend, Oregon.
There are several wineries near Medford OR including RoxyAnn
in the Rogue Valley.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 07:31 AM
  #3  
mms
 
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I live near many of the wineries in the Willamette Valley. You are smart to go for the smaller ones. You tend to get better wine, a better experience, and often times you interact with the winemaker. We have over 200 wineries in this one area alone.

Since we live in this area, we hit the wineries often and know a lot of people involved. The ones that I think are absolute musts include Brick House, Arbor Brook, and Seufert. Those are my top 3, but there are many more of course. To give you an idea, these are ones that we always have on hand, and give as gifts as whose wines DH's company gives as gifts. They are small production and the winemakers are great people. Another that I really like is Grochau Cellars, and right now he has a place in downtown Portland so is one of the new urban wineries, but he is in the process of moving locations, and is available but it depends on when your trip is as to where he will be. His website will stay up to date, so check there. BTW, he makes some great wines with grapes grown down in the Rogue Valley.

The gorge wineries are a different varietal, but I honestly don't think even for what they do that they are very good.

This should get you started
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Jul 7th, 2012, 07:45 AM
  #4  
mms
 
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You mentioned specific wines, which I forgot. Seuferts (a pinot noir) is excellent and has won lots of awards. I really like his dessert wine, Bella, too and he has a new dessert wine coming out that we got a sneak taste of a few months ago. We all said it was like crack it was so addicting, lol! His winery is in downtown Dayton so no grapes grown on site, but his entire production is there and on a nice day the back pack is great. At Arbor Brook, they make really good pinots as well, but my fav there is their Pinot Gris. Both Arbor Brook and Brick House have vineyards right there.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 08:07 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

Tom: will definitely plot Bledsoe's winery into our map!

mms: I was hoping that you would respond!

Years ago I did get some Bella, can't remember which wine. I also got some Muller Thurgau, but can't remember which winery!

There was a really knowledgeable man at one of the big grocery stores (I want to say Safeway's) and he put together a couple of cases for me once and I really loved his selections - but that was even further back in my memory banks!

Many thanks for your excellent suggestions! time to do more research! I'll definitely be back with more questions!
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Jul 7th, 2012, 08:14 AM
  #6  
 
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http://www.wineuptv.com/

Check out his wine tours! My BIL lives nearby, and had great things to say when they were just settling in last spring.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 08:15 AM
  #7  
mms
 
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The MT was probably from Anne Amie. The grocery stores here will give you 10% off if you buy 6 bottles or more at once. Fred Meyer in Newberg has a good selection of wines.

What is your favorite type of wine? I'm guessing you like the dessert wines? Arbor Brook's Sydney is really good, but pricey, if that matters.

When are you coming?
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Jul 7th, 2012, 09:11 AM
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mms has the best Willamette advice, from which we benefitted mightily on our first trip last fall. Grochau was a perfect first stop on the way from the airport; we liked their wines a lot, but particularly enjoyed Boedecker, with whom (which??)they were co-located at the time. (mms, is that a new location you're referring to, not the one in the industrial park?)

Our favorites, in no particular order, were Elk Cove, Cristom, Vidon (a tiny producer, gorgeous wine, and a super nice guy!), and Bergstrom, although I will say that I think the Bergstrom 2010's are still drinking a bit too young. Willa Kenzie was good, as was Bethel Heights. Ponzi, though not exactly small, was excellent as always, and keep in mind that even the larger producers offer things in the tasting room that you won't see outside the state.

Again, I'm not arranging these in any geographical way, so I would get one of those great free wine maps of the Valley and plot stops. And be prepared for amazing food, too
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Jul 7th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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Thanks again for all the great additional suggestions! will be checking out each one, then will make a map on Google maps so that we'll be sure not to miss any!

mms: coming some time in August - the dates have been bouncing around. Personally I'm trying to decide between the Shakespeare Festival (Ashland) or winetasting - can't do both. Will you be in town?
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Jul 8th, 2012, 02:56 PM
  #10  
mms
 
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NewbE--Glad you liked Grochau. Yes, he is still in his current spot til the end of August. Then he will share space at another winery in Mac before moving to a new location back in Portland. I have not been to Cristom, but a good friend really likes their wine. BTW, on a previous thread you mentioned traffic. I think I know the issue, and am guessing you went on 99 up near Sherwood and into Tigard. If so, then yeah that is traffic h*ll! Locals avoid that route back to Portland, so use backroads between either Newberg or Sherwood over to I-5. It saves a TON of time.

easytraveler--We will be bouncing between here and Seattle. DH lives there during the week, so we are like dual residents, lol. I would opt for the winetasting hands down over the OSF, but that's just my taste If I am around when you are here, I'd love to meet you! I thought of another that a good friend really likes, and he has good taste (not in a snobby way at all either). Trisaetum Winery. It is also in the Ribbon Ridge area, where Brick House and Arbor Brook are both located. That area is actually my favorite of all.
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Jul 14th, 2012, 09:43 PM
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It's decided! Winetasting over OSF!

mms: if you're still following this thread, we'll be McMinnville area on a weekend. It'll be fun to meet - especially in a winery! You can email me at bells918athotmaildotcom and we can see if a small GTG is possible.

I'm getting excited over this trip!

Had a relative visit only a few months ago and they went to Archery Summit and Domaine Druhin - would you recommend either? They're not exactly "small" or "unknown".
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Jul 16th, 2012, 04:12 PM
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mms
 
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easytraveler--Both of those are good, but you will be paying a premium for the names. There are just as good wines at fractions of those prices. Of the two, I would opt for DD as it is less pretentious than AS.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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mms: thanks for the comparison of those two wineries. Will pass this on to my companions.

OK, here's the tentative list for the Oregon wineries. I realize that it's way too many for a two day visit, so am eager to hear your comments (and what wineries should be cut). The wineries are grouped geographically and not in order of preference.

Cristom
Bethel Heights

Seufert
Archery Summit
Domain Druhin
Ponzi
Erath - maybe
Sokol Blosser - maybe

Brick House
Arbor Brook
Trisaetum
Vidon
Bergstrom
Anam Cara

Elk Cove
Willa Kenzie

Then, there are also:
Adelsheim
Capitello
Willamette Valley
There's also a place for champagne -Airlie? Aylie?

I'd like to do a mix of white and red. Pinot Noir being the obvious red choice, but my understanding is that Oregon is also experimenting with other reds, so am open. In the whites, Pinot Gris seems to be the current favorite. I also want to try a Muller Thurgau again. Cabs we'll probably leave for Washington State wineries.

Any comments/recommendations are welcome.


No recommendations on Washington State at all? I'm surprised since it is the second highest wine-producing state, after California.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 11:35 AM
  #14  
mms
 
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Your Ponzi stop is in Dundee at their tasting room. Their winery is located elsewhere, over off of Scholls Ferry in the Tigard area. Just wanted to let you know that where you have it lumped, you will not be seeing the actual winery. Their wines are ok, not great by any standard, but they have a great history here as being one of the forefathers, so that might interest you.

Also, Argyle is who makes great sparkling wines, and they are literally right across the road from the Ponzi tasting room in Dundee.

Sokol Blosser is our version of Gallo, IMO. I wouldn't bother.

Adelsheim is on the same road as Arbor Brook, maybe a quarter mile or so before it. So makes sense to hit both.

WillaKenzies place is huge and they distribute nationwide, FWIW. They do have some good wines (I took DD there this past weekend), but if you want things you can't get down your way, then skip this one if you are running short on time, etc.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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For sparkling, you're thinking of Argyle. Personally, I like the wine, but we hated the tasting room, which is right on the main drag in Dundee. It was crowded--the only place that was the whole week--and the pourers were more like bartenders. It was just a poor experience in comparison with every single other one we had, at tasting rooms large and small, so...my advice would be to skip it. Just my two cents! (You could also try the wine at the Dundee Wine Bar in the evening.)

I love your list, and its ambition, lol! You may find some of your stops to be very brief, and others to be longer if you find something you like. Plus, you'll get passionate recommendations from everyone you meet as you go, which may affect the schedule. I can't help you cut it down, sorry -- you'll have to rely on serendipity!
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Jul 19th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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mms, I was typing while you posted! We went to a Ponzi tasting room that was not in Dundee--nearby, but up a hill, etc. , overlooking some vineyards. What was that? Is that the one you're referring to? Is there a new one?

Your advice is great, as always. We're returning to Willamette in October, so I'll be asking for ideas and taking notes from all the exisitng threads again.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 11:51 AM
  #17  
mms
 
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NewbE--The one you were at is the winery. They have a tasting room there too. The one in Dundee is just a tasting room and restaurant. Does that make sense?
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Jul 19th, 2012, 12:26 PM
  #18  
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Wow! Great advice and instant feedback! Terrific!

Relying more on Fodorites rather than serendipity, the list now is minus Sokol Blosser and Ponzi and includes Adelsheim and Argyle. We like to start our dinners with a champagne or a champagne mix, like kir, so Argyle is a must. For average dinners, we do mostly Gloria Ferrer or Mumm's. May also cut out Willa Kenzie. Had to eliminate Grochau because a singular trip into Portland isn't worth it, time-wise.

so many good wineries, so little time. Sigh!

Thanks a whole bunch for helping me firm up my itinerary! We're not guzzlers nor wine snobs, we're just average imbibers and like a glass of good wine now and then.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 12:27 PM
  #19  
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Oh, forgot to ask: any particular wines at any of these wineries that you would recommend?
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Jul 19th, 2012, 12:32 PM
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Makes perfect sense, mms, thanks!
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