Oregon wineries for a Burgundy Lover
I'm going to be in the Portland, Oregon area for two days next week, and I'm thinking of spending a day touring wineries.
I'm a Champagne, Burgundy, northern Rhone lover, who knows little about Oregon wines. I don't like heavy, syrupy, high alcohol wines.
At a tasting recently, I had an amazing Pinot Noir from Bethel Heights, Willamette Valley winery, apparently 1 hour south of Portland.
The wine I had was the 2008 West Block, Eola Amity Hills.
The wine tasting instructor is a huge Burgundy fan and usually turns up his nose at Oregon Pinots and this wine, which he had not previously tasted, really surprised him. I have no idea if all of the winery's Pinots are this good (this was their most expensive wine, retailing at $50 a bottle from the winery). It was definitely not heavy and not syrupy or jammy. Not sure of the alcohol content.
I love Burgundy, but most of the ones I have had at tastings lately have been $150 a bottle on the low end and in the thousands on the high end. Given the $50 price point and the issue of price to quality ratio, I thought the Bethel Heights compared favorably
How interesting that 90% of the responses talk about the responders' favorites, regardless of whether they are at all Burgundian in style!
I certainly don't know all the Oregon Pinot Noirs, but of those I do, by far the most Burgundian in style are Drouhin, and Eyrie. Chehalem is definitely not a jammy wine, but ver "Oregonian." and I recently was introduced to Brick House, which is very Burgundian, as well as biodynamic.
I like St Innocent - a lot - but the "closest thing to Burgundy"? Don't get me wrong, SI wines are far from stereotypical Cali fruit bombs, but others in the Valley produce more traditionally burgundaian juice IMO. The Eyrie, JK Carriere, the aforementioned Scott Paul (plus there's imported Bugs and gorgeous grower bubbles - just don't raise the subject of soccer), DDO, McKinlay... Just sayin
We are the national importers for 15 of the top domaines in Burgundy, all of which are available in our tasting room along with the Pinots we make from our vineyards here in the Willamette Valley. Open this weekend Saturday 1-5, and other days by appointment.
Scott Paul Wines - Scott Paul Selections
Domaine Drouhin IS a Burgundy winemaker who opened a winery in Oregon. Across the street is Domaine Serene, which isn't much Burgundy like but I like their wines.
Belle Pente is a small, under-the-radar winemaker who makes great reds and whites that are a bargain. Defintely not heavy, syrupy. You'll have to call to schedule an appointment.
Le Cadeau is one of the better makers but you'll have to call and schedule an appointment there, too.
I'm a fan of Stoller as well.
Scott Paul is a winemaker with a wine store, so you might be able to try other wines there. I'm not sure.
At the Dark Horse Tasting Room in Newberg you can try both Medici and Sineann. Medici makes wines in the low 13 percent range and they age them for four years or so before releasing them. THey might be on the 2004s now. I like Medici quite a bit (they're also fairly priced in the mid $20s) but I have to say I've gotten mixed reaction from others who have tried them. Sineann is probably better known for whites.
If you're looking for a place to eat, I recommend Tina's in Dundee. Call ahead for a reservation. In my Chowhound profile it asks "I really wish I could" and I answered: Date the head waitress at Tina's.
Head out to 99W Newberg, Dundee, Carlton, McMInville south to Salem. There are many nodes of wineries to choose from making Pinot wines, even some Syrah (Biggi Hamina) I believe local fruit, and Lillian Syah (Cali fruit) is first class along with their Antica Terra PN, Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge are some of the best AVA. You could spend a week and not visit them all.