Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Nov 5, 2008 04:22 PM

Best Pinots/vineyards in Willamette Valley?

I am traveling to OR with my husband Fri, staying at black Walnut Inn through sunday, and sunday driving to eugene. we prefer to find awesome vitners who make only a small no of cases. E.g. we love thackery''s Andromeda, Sine que non's wines, Bella (syrah/zins). Where should we go in willamette? Unfortunately, Ken Wright, Le Cadeau, Beaux Freres, and Soter are not open to public.

Please help us with our list for the best stops for best red wines/vineyards/etc...

Friday: Elk Cove, Scott Paul, Chehalem, Adelsheim (not a HUGE fan of their pinots), four Graces

Sat: domaine drouhin, domaine serene, archery summit, Penner-Ash, Bergstrom, Torii Mor

Sun: St. innocent, Cristom, Bethel Heights, King Estate.

If you have better suggestions, or vineyards that should be taken off if overpriced, over hyped, etc, please let me know. We are huge foodies and wine lovers and want to take home lots of great wine!

thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Black Walnut Inn is a great place, you will love it.

    Saturday you have six places, that is rather ambitious. I personnally would drop domain drouhin or Torii Mor. You should also hit the little red barn just down the road from the Inn. You can only buy their wine at the barn (I have a case waiting for me there).

    On Sunday after the wineries I would recommend taking the Wheatland Ferry to get back to I-5, fun crossing the river and great little drive to freeway through all the hop fields.

    King Estate is the weakest of the bunch in my opinion. I was there a couple of weeks ago for a wonderful dinner. We ordered two of their top wines off the dining menu and they were wonderful. They don't have them for tasting however. 2007 was a tough year for lots of big producer PN's. I believe the Kings 2007 will not be nearly as good as the 2006 was.

    1. In the South Willamette / Eugene area, I would recommend Pfieffer which is 4 miles West of the intersection of Territorial Hwy and High Pass Road (West of Junction City). They, imo, have the finest drinking Pinot in the South Willamette. Sweet Cheeks Winery and Silvan Ridge/Hinman are opposite one another on Briggs Hill Road off of Territorial ~ 30 minutes South of High Pass Road (approximately 8 miles North of King Estate). Wine Bars are popping up in Corvallis and Eugene, as well.

      Marsh Anne Landing Winery is in the Oakland area ~ 45 minutes South of Eugene on I5 and they have nice reds (~ 3 miles East of the Rice Hill exit on I5 going South).

      1. We just did this trip a couple years ago and it was fantastic. Black Walnut Inn is a great place and a very good home base for exploring WIllamette Valley. Seems we have similar tastes (Bella was a very happy discovery for us on our last Sonoma trip) and our Oregon hit list was quite similar.

        Here's a google map with our hit/wish list (we didn't make it to all of them) ->

        Penner Ash and Bergstrom are among my favorites. Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene (a/k/a Domaine Obscene - you'll understand when you see it) are almost literally across the street from each other so no real reason to skip one once you're there. Archery Summit is also only about a mile away. I liked what we had at Elk Cove and they were somewhat better values than other places. I thought Archery Summit was overpriced.

        Not sure if Patricia Green has a tasting room but I think you'll like her wines. You should also have WillaKenzie on your list. Maybe Argyle too (we didn't vist but like their wines). Ponzi (further north, closer to Portland) is somewhat widely distributed but makes some good stuff. We just poured their Vino Gelato (a dessert wine done in an icewine style) that we bought on our trip and it was fantastic.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor

          Did you make it to Lange?

          Disappoined to see Shea is not open to public, either1

          thanks for the emails...keep them coming! Will revise this list soon!

          Wines at 4 graces do not sound that great..thinking of bailing on it, elk cove (since so far out from rest), and definitely King.

          1. re: ljero

            If you are going to be in the area and want to visit some of the places that don't have tasting rooms just give them a call. Even though they're all pretty busy with pressing the wines that are just finishing fermenting they may be able to take a few minutes to host you. The worst that can happen is they say no.

            If you do go to Carlton and stop at Scott Paul's tasting room (highly recommended, not only for his pinots but the great selection french wines that he personally imports) you're less than 50 yards from Ken Wright, Raptor Ridge and Carlton Cellars, and Solena not to mention Cana's Feast and the Carlton Winemakers Studio about 1/4 mile away.

            If you're near Newberg, make a point to call Owen Roe and Sinnean to see if you could stop by. Both make a really wide variety of wines, most all outstanding.

            1. re: ljero

              Didn't get to Lange. I've since had their wine here at home and enjoyed it.
              We did a 1-day loop with Elk Cove, Willakenzie, Bergstrom and Penner Ash.
              Elk Cove was quite scenic when we were there - it was Feb-March and it was covered in snow.

              1. re: ljero

                not to gloat, but I built Shea's its always open to me! also, they are having a tasting/opening Thanksgiving weekend.,,,,,,,,,behind Domaine Drouhine and Serene, they are my favorite Pinot producers in the WIl. Valley.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Around Eugene:
                Pfeiffer Vineyards: Great place, tremendous Pinots.
                Benton Lane: Plain tasting room, exceptional wines
                I also recommend Sunshine Limo Service: Great tour company for small parties. Very knowledgeable staff. Have Fun!

                1 Reply
                1. re: pinotchio

                  Thank you for all of the recommendations. On Friday, after flying in, we headed directly to Pok Pok for a late lunch, walk down to Pix Patisserie for some desserts to accompany our wine, and could only make it to two vineyards: Elk Cove, whose wines we did not like, and WillaKenzie, whose wines were ok. Our stay at the Black Walnut Inn was fabulous, so much so that we decided to stay in and have wine and dessert by the fireplace Friday night!

                  Saturday, we headed to: Archery Summit--we loved their pinots, esp. the Arcus and bought some bottles there. From there, we went to DD, DS, which were good. After lunch and some really great chile rillenos at Martha's, we also hit Scott Paul, which we did not like at all and ended on Penner Ash. I really liked Penner-Ash, esp. the views, the 2006 Shea, too. I also loved the Rogue blues, esp. the smoky blue...great for an app before heading to Painted Lady for dinner.

                  Sunday, we hit my favorite of the trip, Bergstrom. I bought four different pionots from them, and even liked their base pinot a lot, as well. they just started releasing their 07s. We did not like Tyrus Evans whatsoever, which was disappoitning, as it came highly recommended. Side note: I went to the Tasting Room searching for Thomas pinot and also some from Cameron, but to no avail. We drove to Eugene, and went to La Perla for dinner. Best homemade mozz and napoleon pizzas. No time for vineyards near Eugene, OR. Thanks for all of the recommendations!