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Willamette Valley in June - what wineries should we visit?

Heyteacher Apr 27, 2008 05:55 PM

My husband and I are taking a week trip to Oregon and spending three days in the Willamette Valley. We want to visit as many wineries as we can but want to narrow down the list a bit. We'll be staying in McMinnville and are focusing in the area from Portland south to about Amity. Any suggestions would be great - I'm a lover of Oregon wines so I have a few in mind already so...thanks so much!!

  1. h
    Heyteacher Jun 2, 2008 11:04 AM

    We leave this Saturday for Oregon and just wanted to say thanks again for all of the recs! I'm slowly realizing this is an ambitious list, even though we're staying in McMinnville for three nights, but we'll see what we see and taste what we taste! I'll report back when we get home. Thanks again!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Heyteacher
      Love to Eat Jul 1, 2008 11:23 AM

      Please tell us where you went, and what you'd recommend to someone going in August! Thanks in advance.

      1. re: Love to Eat
        sunshineinaz Jul 1, 2008 12:45 PM

        Would also like to hear your report as we are visiting in September.

        1. re: sunshineinaz
          dylinw Jul 1, 2008 02:33 PM

          heyteacher posted it a little bit ago: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/529364

          1. re: sunshineinaz
            ORwineGEEK Dec 4, 2009 09:32 AM

            Best restaurants in the valley-The Painted Lady-by far top to bottom service food wine lsit all outstanding. Joel Palmer House can't miss mushroom extravaganza.
            Wineries- Archery Summit outstanding wines
            Penner Ash, one of my favorites the jewel of the valley De Ponte Cellars. Small boutiqueish winery with outstanding wines. This place doesn't get enough credit being in the middle of 3 of the top wineries in the valley but they will be know soon. JK Carrier great stuff, Wilakenzie in Carlton/Yamhill AVA beutiful wines also......

      2. b
        bendite May 15, 2008 11:26 PM

        Near Dundee the 2 best are Domain Serene (my favorite OR pinot) and Bergstrom (best bang for your buck).I see lot of rec's for Domain Drouhin... I used to love their wine, but lately, I find it to be merely OK -- their tastings tend to be pretty limited as well. I'd pass. Others in that area that I try to go to at least once a year... Patricia Green, Beux Frere (where they also taste ANA), Penner-Ash,Tori Mor, and Shea. Down towards Salem you've got St. Innocent, Cristom, Bethel Heights, etc. -- all of these are great. Have fun!

        1 Reply
        1. re: bendite
          BallardFoodie May 16, 2008 06:13 AM

          Great list. The day after Thanksgiving tasting at Patricia Green is a must. You get to try something like 12 wines. Good stuff.

        2. h
          Heyteacher May 1, 2008 08:28 PM

          Ok, so after going over everything, I think I've made our list of wineries to visit...we'll be in the area for three days.
          Torii Mor
          Archery Summit
          Domaine Drouhin
          Scott Paul
          Panther Creek
          Penner Ash
          Elk Cove
          Rex Hill

          Getting it down - I'm so excited now!!! Thanks so much for your help!!! :-)

          4 Replies
          1. re: Heyteacher
            Steve K May 2, 2008 07:30 AM

            "Next door" to Elk Cove is Kramer. Stop in, you will be glad you did.


            1. re: Steve K
              Heyteacher May 2, 2008 11:52 AM

              I wasn't really impressed with their website...I don't have too much time. Thanks for the suggestion.

            2. re: Heyteacher
              JillO May 3, 2008 09:42 AM

              Happy to help, just come back and post about where you went, what you ate and drank, and what you thought of it all...please! ;o)

              1. re: Heyteacher
                Sushiqueen36 May 16, 2008 08:32 PM

                Have you been to Willamettewines.com? They have a map of Yamhill County (and more) wineries that would be very useful for you. They mail it out before Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Weekends and we think it's a great tool when you're driving around. My advice would be to not get too hung up on an itinerary as it's fun to "discover" places you haven't heard of. Also, don't stick to the main drag in Newberg - get off of 99W at Quarry Road or Bell Rd (just north of Rex Hill) and start following the blue winery signs. It's a beautiful country drive and you'll run into a lot of great wineries (including Adelsheim). Download the map before you go. Have a great time!!

              2. g
                guystryker Apr 30, 2008 10:01 AM

                I am not sure of the distance, but if you can I defininetly recommend a visit to King Estates Winery. Their Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are very highly rated by Wine Spectator. My wife and I visited there several years ago, and were very pleased. Also try Elk Cove Winery for really superb Pinot Grigio. BTW, I am a native of Portland, Oregon although I now live in Georgia.

                You might be interested to know the the great success of wineries in Oregon in primarily due to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens years ago. The ash which settled in the Willamette Valley killed off filbert and other nut trees, but left the soil perfect for growing grapes.

                Guy Stryker

                2 Replies
                1. re: guystryker
                  Heyteacher Apr 30, 2008 10:17 AM

                  Wow, I didn't know about that, Guy! That's really interesting - thanks for the tidbit!

                  1. re: guystryker
                    Leonardo Apr 30, 2008 10:24 AM

                    King is near Eugene, so really out of area.

                    Elk Cove, while a place I go often, is in Washington County, not exactly around McMinnville. I'd go there if also interested in Kramer and Momokawa Sake.

                  2. h
                    honeybeepdx Apr 29, 2008 07:57 PM

                    If you want a really nice dinner try the Joel Palmer House in Dayton. Great wine list and great food from Oregon.

                    1. d
                      dylinw Apr 29, 2008 11:17 AM

                      I think I planned my day out with all of your input. If anyone wants to weigh in, I'd appreciate it! Also, I planned five stops, which I know can be a bit much for one day, so if anyone has an opinion either way on that, please let me know!

                      Start out in Carlton:
                      1) Scott Paul
                      2) Canas Feast - mix it up with some Italian style wines!

                      Head over to Dundee Hills area:
                      3) Torii Mor
                      4) Domaine Drouhin
                      5) Adelsheim - this one I think I'm comfortable eliminating if needed

                      I am trying to plan the stops out to reflect different styles of winemaking, smaller wineries, and a range of prices for the wine. Is that achieved here?


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: dylinw
                        JillO Apr 30, 2008 03:48 PM

                        That sounds like a good itinerary for a day, dylinw. Personally, I don't think that 5 or 6 in one day is too much, but I rarely try all of the wines offered for tasting and don't always finish the pours I get. Make sure you eat a good meal before you go, have some crackers or something for a snack at some point in the day (and a bottle or two of water each!), and maybe end the day at the Painted Lady in Newberg for dinner. It's fairly easy to get to after hitting Adelsheim.

                        1. re: JillO
                          dylinw May 1, 2008 08:33 AM

                          Thanks! Good advice! :)

                      2. s
                        Steve K Apr 29, 2008 09:06 AM

                        One little non-food/wine tip (sorry Chowhounds): a GPS with the winery addresses pre-programmed will save you a LOT of time. A number of the more interesting wineries are "remote".

                        Penner Ash
                        Elk Cove

                        1. d
                          dylinw Apr 28, 2008 12:33 PM

                          I'm going to be staying in Portland Memorial Day weekend and have slated Sunday as winetasting day. I am considering spending some time at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, Torii Mor, and perhaps Archery Summit. Does anyone have input on these choices? We don't want to overwhelm ourselves trying to squeeze too much into one day (and we have reservations back at Le Pigeon in the evening!), but definitely want to get a sense of some of the more "boutique" wineries and their offerings. Thanks!!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: dylinw
                            firecracker Apr 28, 2008 08:01 PM

                            Don't miss Torii Mor.

                            1. re: dylinw
                              JillO Apr 29, 2008 08:42 AM

                              If you are going to be in Carlton at the Studio (which I think is mostly "eh"), go to Canas Feast (used to be called Cuneo) and to my fave in Carlton, Scott Paul. Scott Paul not only makes excellent pinots, he also is the sole importer for some fabulous Burgundies and it is really interesting to taste the pinots and the Burgundies together (and Old World/New World kind of thing, ya know?).

                              Torii Mor is really beautiful and the wines are decent.

                              Agree about Adelsheim (and Bergstrom and Penner-Ash are down the road, but I like Adelsheim's wines better than the other 2).

                              Don't know that Archery Summit is worth the price, personally, though I like Domaine Drouhin just across the road.

                              In McMinnville proper, I really love Panther Creek and The Eyrie. Some very nice wines there. Panther Creek is interesting because you can taste single vineyard pinots from the same year and really see what a difference terroir and microclimates make in a wine.

                              1. re: JillO
                                Heyteacher Apr 29, 2008 08:50 AM

                                Thanks Jillo - that was so helpful! I'm looking forward to McMinnville.

                                1. re: JillO
                                  slobhan Apr 29, 2008 11:19 AM

                                  Second Scott Paul. The experience is unparalleled. To taste old and new world wines side by side in a tiny town in Oregon. Perfect.

                                  1. re: JillO
                                    Amuse Bouches Apr 29, 2008 11:29 AM

                                    I'll ditto the recommendation for Scott Paul, too. We stopped there on a whim, and not only were the wines terrific (and as Jill notes, an interesting contrast) the owner was incredibly friendly and gave us some great suggestions for other wineries to visit.

                                2. h
                                  Heyteacher Apr 28, 2008 11:14 AM

                                  Thanks everyone! I will definitely check out the other threads. I plan to go to Rex Hill, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Airlie and Sokol Blosser so far but I will look more into the other recs. Thanks again!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Heyteacher
                                    BallardFoodie Apr 28, 2008 11:21 AM

                                    IMO you can pass on Willamette Valley Vineyards. The location/tour is great (I got married there), but the wine is not up to par for the area. Plus it isn't really close to any of the other great wineries in the area (salem being 25-45 minutes away from the real action).

                                    1. re: BallardFoodie
                                      Heyteacher Apr 28, 2008 06:29 PM

                                      Thanks for the tip Ballard - I've enjoyed their wine in the past so maybe it will be a "if we have time" winery visit.

                                      1. re: Heyteacher
                                        Leonardo Apr 28, 2008 10:17 PM

                                        Agree that Willamette Vineyards is not worth the out-of-the-way trip.

                                        Also consider Adelsheim.

                                        1. re: Leonardo
                                          Heyteacher Apr 29, 2008 08:28 AM

                                          Adelsheim is my number one fave in Oregon but it's just too far from where we will be...

                                  2. d
                                    duck833 Apr 27, 2008 08:51 PM

                                    I bring out of town guests to Domain Serine and Archery Summitt. These two and Domain Drouhin are within a few minutes of each other.

                                    1. f
                                      firecracker Apr 27, 2008 07:15 PM

                                      Definitely Torii Mor - very Zen and terrific Pinot Noirs - especially the Olsen Vineyard and Temperance Hill pinots!

                                      1. l
                                        Leonardo Apr 27, 2008 06:59 PM

                                        Sounds like fun. Welcome to PDX!
                                        There are many threads on this subject, both here and in Wine.
                                        Just scroll down and you'll see many tour ideas.
                                        My faves in Yamhill County are Carlton Winemakers' Studio, Argyle, Amity, Domain Drouhin, Erath, Torii Mor, Sokol Blosser, Rex Hill.
                                        What are you considering?

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