This morning I awoke with the realization that I have to lead the Eugene First Friday ArtWalk (held, of course on the second Friday this month) and that I had to have something to wear. I had a sports coat waiting at Nordstrom in Portland so why not go for a little drive and since I was going up there anyway, way not stop to collect some wines along the way?
Willamette Valley Vineyards, located just south of Salem on the right side of the freeway perched high atop the hill. I was early but took a chance on finding someone who could track down the wine that Rachael had promised. I was greeted by Mickey Bellman who is a founding shareholder in the winery, a forester, and a talented writer.
He poked around and could not locate anything with my name on it so he grabbed a bottle of one of my all time Favs, Griffin Creek Viognier this one the '06 ($25) and a bottle of the '07 Founders Reserve Pinot Noir ($30). I tasted it, and though it was slightly before my usual tasting time, my mouth was ready and willing! The nose is raspberry and chocolate with a spice like pepper but not as sharp. In the mouth it is sweet and bright with red berry, cherry, and and dry pepper. Very nice aftertaste. It develops in the mouth as do most of the '07 Pinot Noirs, giving it a lasting finish.
I took my leave and drove slowly down the long driveway, enjoying the morning light on the spent vines. I got to Portland about 11:00 and found a place to park half a block away, ran in and grabbed my coat and had time for a quick 12 oz tepid skinny double shot Latte' before moving on.
I read my map and since I was on my way to pick up at Alloro anyway, I thought that a stop at the neighbors would be in order.
Cooper Mountain Vineyards unannounced. Jason Lubow greeted me like a long lost friend, though we had only met once before. He regaled me with stories about the wine business and about the wines we tasted, then presented me with a bottle of '08 Reserve Pinot Gris ($15) and a bottle of '07 Mountain Terroir Pinot Noir ($45).(from their notes) Mountain Terroir is a blend of some of the best grapes harvested from our three vineyards sites(Grabhorn & Meadowlark & Johnson School). Singled out in individual barrels for aging, the contents of this bottle have been carefully brought together to convey what we hope to be the best expression of Cooper Mountain's terroir, of our environment. Drink this wine and enjoy thousands of years of natural processes, careful vineyard management and the loving care of our winemaker. (more)
Alloro to let him know I was on my way and he called back saying he was going for a run and that he would leave me some wine in the mailbox. I love Oregon! When I drove up to the driveway I got out and, sure enough. there were two bottles waiting, along with his mail. A bottle of the '08 Riesling and one of the '07 Estate Pinot Noir($28) The 2007 Estate Pinot Noir is a blend of four estate grown pinot noir clones. Strawberry and cherry fruit with hints of smoke, spice and fine tannin.
I drove in to Newburg and out past Allison Spa to NE North Valley Road to Calkins Lane where I went first to Adelsheim Vineyard then to Arbor Brook Vineyards.
Fourth Stop Adelsheim Vineyard, as they did last year, gave me a prize bottle of Elizabeth's Reserve '07 ($28). It is a very good Pinot Noir with soft and lush mouth feel, just the right tannins, and a long, strawberry and spicy ceder finish. I plan on going back to taste more when there is time. Last year they had just put up their solar panels. This year I need to find out how they are doing as they inspired me to put up our array. Here is a shot of their array:
ArborBrook. There was crowd of people and the one cat who was inside sat calmly by the window and took it all in. Dave Hansen, who, with his wife Mary, owns the winery, welcomed me and the tasting began in earnest: '08 Croft Vineyard Pinot Gris,($18) '07 Heritage Cuvee' Pinot Noir ($35) '07 Estate 777 Block Pinot Noir ($42)
"Sydney" Semillon ($38).
I bid farewell, and took my Heritage Cuvee' and Estate Block 777 and headed for home.
Sixth Stop The last stop I made was for a tuna subway at the Pilot station off I-5. The guy who lost all the weight would have been a bit put off by the new sales approach. When I ordered the woman ask if I wanted double meat and for that I would get a free cookie... I said "No thanks" and she said "How about two cookies?" "No" again. Then the woman taking my money tried her best to force me into a coolie! "No!" cried I, "what's the deal here? The whole weight loss thing is out the window?" Neither had any idea what I was talking about but the two people in line behind me with their free cookies seemed annoyed.
Back home with my cats and a glass of Pendleton Bourbon. Goodnight!