Looking for wine gems near Portland, Oregon
Next month a friend, who is much more wine enthusiastic than I, will join me in Portland for a long weekend. I'd like to take him to a winery within an hour or two of Portland that would be unique, extremely high quality and something he would not have likely run into.
Certainly the northern end of Oregon wine country - Newberg, Dundee - is easily doable in about an hours' drive. We were there about a year or so ago and particularly liked (all pretty small production) ->
Penner Ash's building is particularly striking and has a nice view of the hills, and their wines are excellent.
Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Serene, and Archery Summit are all in a close little cluster as well and are only a tiny bit further south around Dayton.
Unfortunately, I still haven't had the pleasure of touring the wine country in Oregon, but I really like the wines, especially from the Willamette Valley. From what I've heard, you can make the drive in the time you specified, but keep in mind the area is quite large i.e. there are sub appelations (Yamhill, Dundee, etc.) scattered about from one end of the valley to the other.
So, just going by producers that I enjoy (since I obviously don't know your friend's experience with Oregon wines), here are my recs
- Gypsy Dancer
- Francis Tannahill
- Domaine Serene
Be sure to contact the wineries before you visit as many are be appointment only
Oregon wine country didn't strike me as particularly spread out at all. Yamhill, Dundee, Newberg, Dayton are all in about a half hour range. Salem is a little further flung to the South, about another 45-60 minutes. Great place to do some wine country touring, I highly recommend it.
Remember that distances are deceiving, as some of the roads such as 219 are mountainous and curvy.
All the above are great ideas; I'd add Torii Mor & Carlton Winemakers' Studio. If you like sake, consider Momokawa in Forest Grove.
If you focus on McMinnville and north of that, you should be able to hit enough places.
Epicenter of the region is McMinnville, which is about 50 mins SW of Portland. Eat at Dundee Bistro, Joel Palmer House, or Painted Lady.
Check out The Tasting Room in Carlton. They specialize in up and coming Pinots that can't be tasted at a winery. We were there a couple of weeks ago and it was our favorite stop. Penner Ash was also great and the setting is beautiful.
If you can persuade him to come on the days after Thanksgiving, you'll find a bunch more wineries open for tasting (no appointments necessary). http://www.willamettewines.com/thanks...
Myself, I like going to JK Carriere because I have a crush on Jim Prosser, but my wine-snob friends like the wine there, too.