Oregon Wineries Road Trip

Yamhill-Carlton AVA

We spent a couple of weeks on an Oregon wineries road trip at the end of July.  The first week we were on the coast.  We spent the second week in the heart of the Willamette Valley.  By my count we sampled wines from 49 Oregon wineries — probably more, I stopped writing the names of those that weren’t at least a little interesting.

The Aroma of Oregon Pinot Noir

The Aroma of Oregon Pinot Noir

The motivation for the trip was the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville.  I’ve written about this previously so won’t go into details here.  I will add that IPNC is a juried show.  Wineries have to submit samples and only the top 75 are selected.  Plus there’s a rule that says a winery can’t be there for two consecutive years.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

In some ways Oregon pinot noirs are a throwback.  The cooler climate and earlier rainy season mean the grapes don’t get the extended hang time vineyard managers in California seem to be striving for.  The result: wines that are still in the general vicinity of 12.5% alcohol.  Very food-friendly.

Oregon Coast Arch Rock

Oregon Coast Arch Rock

We discovered a new wine cluster near Cave Junction down on the Rogue River.  The clear winner was Foris Vineyards Winery.  Their pinot noir featured berry aromas on the nose followed by an explosion of fruit on the palate.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time and could not visit the winery, but this region shows real promise.  If you’re looking for a place to stay, the winery offers  a five bedroom house for $150 per night.

Stay tuned.  Blogging for this trip should take us well into September.

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the West Coast industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. On behalf of fellow Californian oenophiles, he hunts for great pinot noir and great values in pinot noir all along the West Coast. His day job is Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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