Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wine Tasting: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Over Memorial Day weekend we took a long overdue 4 day weekend away with some friends wine tasting in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

This trip with these friends used to be a yearly tradition over Thanksgiving weekend but somehow that holiday has gotten more complicated the past few years and we just haven't been able to pull it off. So we were actually thrilled that given both of our busy couple lives we were actually able to pull it together for the 4 day Memorial day weekend. The 4 of us along with 3 dogs it was a real get away.

2009 Freezing in Glacier National Park
During our weekend we had some to time to remember some of our previous Memorial Day and other get aways from the past 15 years. Two especially memorable ones came to mind. One was Memorial day weekend 2006. We took our boat and their dog over for a 4 day Memorial Day camping weekend in Eastern Washington chasing the sun. It became memorable for two distinct reasons. 1) It poured, literally wind blowing, sideways rain poured most of the 4 days. 2) On day two I slipped and ended up enduring a spiral fracture of the left ankle. Good times! Then there was our 2009 Summer vacation to Glacier National Park in Montana. It rained every night we camped in tents, the days were nice but at night it poured. We spent 4 nights playing endless UNO and drinking some great red wines.

This Memorial Day weekend proved to bring our familiar rain curse along for the trip again. This time our friends hauled us all down in the "Cabin" their recently purchased cute pop-out RV. After we got settled at the Wine Country RV park we headed out to our first stop for wine tasting.

We started just outside of McMinnville at Maysara which ended up being my favorite new find in the Willamette Valley on this trip. Found on a beautiful property in a HUGE beautiful rock building. They actually ended up being closed on Friday to prepare for their big events on Saturday & Sunday. But the tasting room manager kindly opened the tasting room for us for a private tasting. Which worked out great because we met up with another couple there. It was very nice and wow, I love their wines and story of becoming Oregon wine makers as immigrants from Iran. 

Meadow, Mac & Sally Porkchop at Panther Creek Cellars
From here we headed to Yamhill Valley Vineyards where we picked up the steal of a deal for the trip. A case of Chenin Blanc for $60. We then hit town and went to Panther Creek Cellars which G & I had been to 13 years earlier while searching the Willamette for wines to serve at our wedding. They were as great as we remembered, they even let us bring in the pups. As you can see the pups took full advantage of their hospitality by getting a bit rough in their play. 

From here we hit a few other not as memorable tasting rooms (R. Stuart, Terra Vina) in downtown McMinnville and then had a yummy dinner at a great little Tapas restaurant La Rambla .

Day two started with a favorite that the 4 of us had visited  together during our last trip down to Willamette; Sole'na Cellars. Sole'na just plain makes great wine and they have a beautiful new facility outside of the town of Carlton. 

Solena Winery

The wine maker was doing a great futures thieve tasting in the cellar. So our experience was pretty cool. So much so that G decided we needed to join yet another wine club.

From there we went to one of my favorite little Oregon wine towns Carlton. 
Meadow & Mac outside of Tyrus Evan Tasting Room
We walked town with the pups bringing them in to the places that allowed it and hung outside at places that didn't. 
A private, unexpected wine making tour at Laurelridge Winery

We visited K&M Cellars, Troon and Scott Paul along the way. 

It was a great kind of leisurely wine tasting day that ended with some tasty pulled pork sandwiches that we picked up at a food truck in Dundee.

The view from the Sineann wine tasting room
On Sunday, our last day of tasting we started at Sineann which was super crowded and almost claustrophobic feeling. But had some great BIG reds. 

From here we went to August Cellars which had several guest wineries tasting and a fantastic chocolatier with some scrumptious chocolates.

Up next was another favorite winery of ours that G&I first found on our wedding wine hunt weekend to Willamette Valley, Sokol Blosser. 

They have a beautiful property and were having a big shin-dig as well. 

And Sally P loved the smell of the farm.

Our last stop of the trip was to Zerba who also make some phenomenal wines. It was a great trip. We woke up Monday to a torrential downpour of course but it didn't dampen our experience, we had a good time doing what we love to do in a beautiful valley. 

Even the pup had a great weekend in wine country.

If haven't been wine tasting in the Willamette Valley it's a recommended trip. We couldn't get over how many more wineries are there now just since the few year hiatus that we'd been away. It's not Napa or even Sonoma but it's a wine lovers must visit just the same.

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