Map of the Yamhill Carlton AVA, Mcminville, Oregon

Oregon Wineries Road Trip: Overview


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 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.

Coast or Oregon from a 2000 foot mountain

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.

The Oregon coast has many rocks all along it. Here’s the most unusual.

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.

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