Monday morning found me in the classroom again, taking my summer term final. It’s been a long and strenuous class, but it’s over now, giving me five weeks free from class before fall term starts.
Naturally, after spending my summer so far in class rooms, I wanted to celebrate a bit. Wine tasting seemed a great way to do so, and yesterday I hopped a bus to Dundee with a few friends. We had talked with Erica Landon, BH’s new sommelier, a few days before hand, and she set up some spots for us to visit. The plan was to hit Argyle first, and sample their five methode Champenoise sparkling bottles (!) and numerous Pinot variations.
From Argyle, we moved on to de Lancellotti vineyards in the Chehalem AVA, which is next door to Bergström Vineyards. We visited both, and both have fantastic wines. Paul de Lancellotti gave us the rundown on his family’s small, limited production vineyard, and filled us in on his close work with Josh Bergström, his brother-in-law. Paul was very knowledgeable and passionate, and his vineyard had the most intimate, personal feel of any I have been to in the Willamette valley (save maybe Bella Vida). We talked about the bio-dynamic farming process and bullshitted about surfing and stand-up paddle boarding while his kids ran around the yard shooting things will BB guns. It was a nice change from some of the pomp and money of Willamette Valley vineyards.
Bergström set us up with a nice spot on their patio overlooking the rolling vineyards, where we had some lunch and tasted everything they had to offer. From there, we made a quick unscheduled detour to Adelsheim, before making our way to Penner-Ash, our last stop for the day.
Penner-Ash is by far the most impressive winery I’ve been to in the Willamette Valley, both for their incredible wines and their state of the art, high-tech, beautifully crafted facility. The Oregon timber-constructed building overlooks rolling hills and valleys, and Mt. Hood sits far off in the distance past all of the open fields and rows of grapes. The building has solid granite floors, and large windows providing lots of nice views and filling, natural light. After a tour of the barrel rooms and facility, we tasted nine wines ranging from late harvest Riesling to Pinot Noir, and even sampled their Syrah— which is a varietal that not many Willamette wineries are making. The Penner-Ash staff was nice enough to throw in a tasting of the limited production, grand cru-esque Pas de Nom Pinot Noir (250 cases!) that retails for over $100 per bottle. In short, they were very, very nice to us.
It was a bit hectic getting to Dundee and back with no car, as we (for obvious reasons) didn’t want to drive. I still haven’t figured out the most effective, most economical way to get down to the Oregon wine country without a car, and I’m still trying to come up with another means of touring there (bike, perhaps?). Nevertheless, it was a good day. Hopefully I can get two more days in down there before the weather turns into perpetual rain.