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Sep 2, 2009 08:42 PM

Labor Day- Willamette/ Dundee Wine Tasting Rec's

My husband and I will be tasting in the Willamette Valley on Labor Day. We plan to stop at 3 wineries on our way from Newport to Portland. I was really excited to try Domaine Drouhin and Archery Summit, after reading this board and Wine Spectator. It turns out Domaine Drouhin will be open labor day (they are normally closed Mondays) but Archery Summit is closed (when they are normally open). Now I am down to 1 winery.

Any recommendations for the other 2 wineries? We are pinot fans and wine taste frequently in California. We may have a few other family members with us who are wine novices.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you're hitting up Drouhin I'd recommend also going to Domaine Serene. It's quite close by and they have excellent Pinots.

    You may also want to try the wine board for additional recommendations.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dylinw

      I'd recommend Torii Mor. Its pinots are not amazing, but they are more than quaffable. What makes the place great is its very zen garden grounds. Last september I spent a couple hours there with a bottle and some good company. Lovely place.

    2. figg, WillaKenzie Estate, which ranks near the top of anybody's list of top quality producers of Oregon pinots noirs, is open 11 to 5 on Labor Day.

      1. Thanks for the tips. I wanted to do a quick update after my tasting trip. First, I was surprised by the lack of value at the wineries I went to. Tastings were $10-15 and then generally no or very little discount on wines. At Domaine Serene the tasting is only complimentary with a half case purchase, I think the other wineries required a $100 purchase. We went to 4 wineries and ended up having a group of 6 people, some who had never been wine tasted before.

        Domaine Drouhin- They were tasting 1 chardonnay and 2 pinot noirs for $10. They have a really nice patio. Staff was indifferent and when we asked if Domaine Serene was open they talked bad about it, which struck me as a bit unprofessional (but maybe we should have listened). I did enjoy their pinots but was not blown away by them.

        Domaine Serene- Tasting 1 chardonnay, 2 pinot noirs and 1 syrah for $15. This place was universally despised by my group, mainly because of the pretentious/ rude staff. I did really enjoy one of their pinots and inquired about a case but they do not discount at all for cases (and when I asked the price I got a ton of attitude). The other 3 wines were pretty mediocre.

        Erath- 3 wines complimentary, $10 winemaker's choice tasting & $15 pinot tasting. This was the crowd favorite. Friendly staff, good value on the tasting, and a wide variety of wines. My husband did the winemaker's choice flight and I did the pinot tasting. We ended up going home with a couple pinots and had a lovely picnic on their patio. (fyi- we asked if we could picnic at domaine serene and they said not because it attracted flies)

        Dobbes- 1 complimentary "wine by joe" wine and a $10 tasting flight with I think 4 wines, including a late harvest viognier. This winery offers 2 lines of wine. One is "wine by joe" and is more affordable. The other is Dobbes family. This was a selection made by someone else in my group. I was not that impressed with their wine. The staff were friendly and the place was easy to access.

        I would love to try out some more Oregon wineries on a future visit (my husband is from Oregon) but I left a bit underwhelmed by my first trip. Unfortunately, Archery Summit was closed.

        3 Replies
        1. re: figg

          Sorry to hear it. I believe your experience was largely a result of your choices of wineries and it being Labor Day weekend. Seeing as you didn't in your initial post give any preferred price range as a guide, that didn't exactly help in giving you suggestions. Did you want high end? Domaine Serene/Drouhin are toward the higher end in both price and attitude. Being the holiday, fees are higher because there are many out there who are "tasting" and have relatively scant interest in buying much of anything, rather they are there for sightseeing. As a result, some smaller wineries actually bar tour buses. Sorry if this reply comes off as rude. Not my intention.

          There have been many winetasting threads both here and under Wine. My favorites are Beran, Willakenzie, Elk Cove, Patton Valley, Amity, and Erath. Some have NO fee while others will waive it if you buy between 2-3 bottles. Some have a stated policy of charging fees yet will waive them if they like you and/or are in a good mood, hahaha.

          1. re: Leonardo

            Not rude at all, thanks for the tips. I think the problem was I planned thinking it would probably just be my husband and I who can afford nice wine/ tastings. When family who are on a limited budget and not that into wine came it changed the dynamic. I still think $15 for tasting 4 wines and offering no discounts is pretty steep, but maybe that is just for labor day weekend. And I hate getting attitude from wineries. None of the wineries seemed that crowded but I am used to California. Maybe we will try it out another time.

            1. re: figg

              Sorry to hear Archery Summit was closed, excellant wines. You should have stopped by the boutique winery De Ponte Cellars down the hill from both of the "Domaines" outstanding wines great customer service and great pricing. Some of the best Pinot's I've tasted in the valley and the only producer of Oregon Melon de Bourgogne that I like in the state.. Another really good winery in the neighborhood is Stoller nice inexpensive wines and a beautiful property. Other great ones not to miss. Penner Ash and Winderlea. Slightly more expensive wines but nice stuff.....