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!