Tag Archive | Dundee

Anniversary Wine!

Yesterday was Jon and my two year anniversary.  Only two years because we married later in life, but that just means that we are more settled in our lives and careers, and have a bit more disposable income to do discretionary things!

Jon let me pick the wine that we opened to toast, and I looked through the wines we have and selected The Four Graces 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  I was in the mood for a good Pinot, and it has been awhile since we’ve opened a Four Graces wine.  The Four Graces is located in Dundee, Oregon, right off Highway 99.  The tasting room is in a neat white farmhouse, with vineyards stretching out back.  The tasting bar is right in what was originally the living room, and then they have some seating areas in two adjoining rooms.  The atmosphere of the tasting room is warm and lively, and every time we have been there it has been pretty busy.  The other patrons are always really friendly, and I’ve found myself in conversations with new acquaintances!  I wish I could say that’s the case with all tasting rooms, but The Four Graces is rather unique in creating this vibe.

The Four Graces 2007 Pinot Noir

The 2007 Pinots tend to be light and soft, because 2007 was a difficult year.  The summer was cooler than normal, which made the ripening process go more slowly than normal, and the harvest period saw between 5 and 6 inches of rain, which threatened to ruin a whole lot of grapes.  As a result, a lot of the 2007 Pinots don’t have the same robust structure as some of the other Willamette Valley Pinot vintages.  Not so with this wine.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, since it had been awhile since we had tried Four Graces, and I was surprised by the darker cherry color and bold substance of this wine.  It still has a light mouthfeel, but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as soft.  The dark cherry flavor is infused with a lot of smoke, and almost none of the tartness that is typical of a Pinot.

I’m enjoying my second glass tonight, on the day after, and it is wonderful.  We might have to circle back to The Four Graces on our next tasting trip.  It has been too long…

Memorial Weekend Wine Tour – Day 2

On Friday night we spent the night in Woodburn, Oregon, right near the outlet mall.  We started our day out by venturing over to the outlets, where Jon found a pair of nice shoes at Bass and we cleaned up at Columbia.  I got two nice lightweight summer jackets and Jon got a button down shirt.  With the shopping urges quenched, we made our way over to the Newburg/Dundee/Carlton wine country.  We’ve been to several in the area before, so we decided that we would make some stops at places that we had never been to before.

Our first stop was at Carlo and Julian Winery.  It is located in a shop behind the owner’s house, complete with cats and chickens and a little girl running around.  They are very friendly people, but we couldn’t help feeling like we were imposing a bit.  We were the only ones there, but it was still early in the day.  We tasted several of their vintages of Pinot Noir, as well as a Tempranillo and a Malbec.  The Malbec was very good, but is was pricey, and good Malbecs are easy to come by at lower price points.  We ended up buying two bottles of Pinot Noir, 2006 and 2008.  Our opinion was that their Pinots didn’t have a lot of variation in taste between years.  We are curious to see how the 2008 ages.

Next we went into Carlton and wandered randomly down the street.  We stopped at Zenas Wines on the main street in Carlton.  The winemakers are two young brothers who are very interested in the technical aspects of winemaking.  If you are interested, they will go into great detail about the process.  What we found refreshing was coming across a winery that doesn’t focus on Pinot Noir, and makes some really great wines.  We liked them all and had a great time visiting.  We bought three bottles there, their 2007 Meritage, the Cabernet Franc, and their Riesling.  We will really enjoy these when we open them, I’m sure.

Zenas Winery storefront in Carlton, Oregon

A little further down, on the opposite side of the street is Alexana Winery.  They offer a Pinot Gris and two Pinot Noir’s, with grapes from different vineyards.  Their Pinots are excellent, but on the pricey side.  Their tasting includes their high priced Pinot Noir.  We loved it, but at $75, it is out of our price range.

All in all, a great day.  The weather was nice, everyone at all of the wineries was friendly and easy to talk to, and they are very proud of their wines.  Each day in the Willamette Valley is different, because it would take a lifetime to go to all the wineries.  We will certainly try though!