Good friends? Check. DD? Check. Gas in the tank and yummy munchies? Check. Plenty of cash to spend on wine tasting in Dundee Hills? CHECK.
This past Saturday, the boyfriend and our friends, Travis and Amanda, trekked to the northern part of the Willamette Valley in Oregon to soak up the sunny weather and drink world-class vino. It was fun taking newbies to wine taste in this region, but Travis is an expert at this stuff, knows his wines and his Washington wine country like the back of his hand. They were the perfect companions for our wine adventure. I have to warn you, if you like wine posts that are all technical and jargon-filled, this is not going to be one of them.
First, we stopped at Rex Hill. The tasting room features a table of water glasses filled with a variety of foods to wake up the senses in preparation for wine tasting. The Pinot Noirs were superb and Aris had fun snapping pictures of all the quirky elements in the place.
Our next stop was Argyle Winery. The tasting room sits just off the 99 in Dundee, an adorable farmhouse structure that features the perfect Oregon garden in the front during the summer. Thank you to the employee who allowed me to sub out the dessert wine for a taste of the amazing 2006 Spirithouse Pinot Noir. We splurged on a bottle of Argyle’s Black Brut, a sparkling wine made from 100% pinot noir, sporting a dark, luscious purple-ruby color and tasting like heaven in a glass. I now have a bottle sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be opened with my parents after I present on my research in May.
Eager to continue our journey, we moved on to Domaine Drouhin, a place I have written about before on Vininsane. With the sun pouring over the vineyards, a scene Amanda likened to the English countryside, we sat outside on the porch enjoying the view. As I had done the full tasting here before, I settled for a glass of chardonnay, a crisp wine with hints of pineapple, vanilla, and minerality.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to break out our picnic things at Domaine Drouhin or our next stop, Sokol Blosser. The bees are already an issue! That didn’t detract us from enjoying flights of Sokol Blosser’s best. Travis opted for red, while the gals went with the flight of white, which started with a showing of two pinot gris and finished with a taste of SB’s famous blend, Evolution. While not the small-time operation many people like to equate with the idealism of the Oregon wine country, SB never fails to offer me a fun, palate-pleasing experience when I visit. Travis scored two bottles of the Big Tree Block Pinot Noir, one to take home and one to open up back at the hotel as a thank you for taking the trek to Dundee Hills. It isn’t cheap and you can’t purchase it through the website anymore, but if you have the money to spend and find yourself near Sokol Blosser, pick up a bottle of this pinot noir. It is what a pinot should taste like, a touch of red fruit, well-balanced tannins and acid, smooth and subtle on the alcohol content. We agreed you can’t really find a $10 pinot and get this kind of quality for your money.
The night ended with a streetcar ride to the Pearl District in Portland to partake in cocktails at Olive Or Twist. The Spicy Peach cocktail is a muddle of peach vodka and serrano chiles, and was the perfect way to top off a beautiful day!