See the wineries we visited on the first day, Oregon wineries. day 1: Montinore, Kramer, Arborbrook, WillaKenzie.
Anne Amie Vineyards—Fruit flies were competing with us for the wine here, but we still managed to sneak a few samples in. The woman pouring the wine was very nice and we got to hear all about her family vacation to Mexico with teenagers—thankfully that won’t be a challenge for us anytime soon! Eric had the advantage here as the regular $5 tasting only included one Pinot Noir while the rest were whites.
Our favorite was the ’07 Cuvee a Müller-Thurgau, so we got a bottle. The runner up was the ’07 Pinot Gris with notes of pear and cream. I thought the Pinot Noir was nicely fruity but overpriced. Tasting fees are waived if you spend $50 or more (I think this is per person, too). One item to note: the tasting room is set up on a ridge with a beautiful view that would make for a great picnic spot on a nice day.
Purchased: ’07 Cuvee a Müller-Thurgau
(overlooking the drive up to the tasting room and the Anne Amie vineyards)
Carlton Winemakers Studio—This tasting room is unique because it’s a co-op group of several small wineries that use the facility to produce their wine. Having several winemakers there meant we got to taste two flights of wine (one each) all from different labels. The fees for the flights are charged even with a purchase, but we weren’t charged for two additional samples he poured us, and we got a $5 discount for purchasing 6 bottles.
My favorites from the red flight were the ’06 J Daan Pinot Noir (smooth with coffee and ripe fruit) and the ’06 Lazy River Estate Pinot Noir (tropical perfume, rich tannins). I also sampled the ’05 Dominio IV “Old Man Looking East” Syrah which was very peppery with rich cardamom and lovely cherry notes. Eric enjoyed all of his whites, the ’06 Carlton Winemaker’s Studio Pinot Gris (melon, light, but full-flavored), ’07 Andrew Rich Wines Croft Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (light peanut, great body, slight vegetal notes) and the ’07 Dominio IV “Still Life” Viognier (peaches and cream, very nice).
Purchased: ’06 J Daan Pinot Noir, ’06 Lazy River Estate Pinot Noir, ’07 Dominio IV “Still Life” Viognier, ’06 Dominio IV “Technicolor Bat” blend, ’06 Carlton Winemaker’s Studio Pinot Gris
(my tasting flight of reds)
Lemelson Vineyards—The tasting for the vineyard was appointment only on Monday, so we scheduled our visit here in advance and worked the other places around it. Laura was a great host and we got to sample a total of eight wines with a mini tour of the facility in between whites and reds.
All three of the whites were nice, we tried the ’07 Tikka’s Run Pinot Gris (green apple with a mild creamy finish) and ’06 Reserve Chardonnay (roasted wood and nutty, aged 18mo in French Oak) but the ’06 Dry Riesling (slate and plastic nose, very Alsatian-esque) was Eric’s favorite. We sampled five estate-grown Pinot Noirs from 2006 and it was very interesting to see the differences a specific patch of land makes on the final product. All had a very nice herbal quality that ranged from mace to cumin to smoked tea. We liked the ’06 “Meyer Vineyard” Pinot Noir (smoky black cherry with a long finish) and the ’06 “Chestnut Hill” Pinot Noir (meaty and herbal with sweet earth tones) best.
Purchased: ’06 Dry Riesling, ’06 “Meyer Vineyard” Pinot Noir, ’06 “Chestnut Hill” Pinot Noir
(the Lemelson Vinyards engraved gate)
Erath Winery—Our very last winery of the trip and it was a beautiful venue to relax and enjoy the warm sunshine. This tasting room has a group of tables outside of the tasting room that overlook vineyards in the Dundee Hills- a beautiful way to end the day! Oh, and the wine was good too, especially from a value standpoint. We both tried the complimentary tasting flight and split the Winemaker’s Choice flight.
In general, I found the whites to be a little better than the reds, although everything we tried was very drinkable. The ’06 Gewurtztraminer (very floral with sweet start and dry finish) is a great value at $12. We only had enough room for one bottle, but we may be ordering more since they don’t distribute the Gewurtztraminer like they do with their Pinot Noir (light strawberry and currant) and Pinot Gris (toasty citrus, very crisp).
Purchased: ’06 Gewurtztraminer
(a view of the Dundee Hills on the way to Erath)
You’ll notice that I haven’t printed the prices for all the wines we tried here, but if you are interested in any of the bottles we mentioned or bought, we’ll keep all the tasting notes and prices, so just send us an email. :)