Since we are members of two wine clubs in the Willamette Valley, we wanted to get out to there to do some tasting of the wines that had been released and get a feel for what would be released soon. Plus, we love visiting the area :) With our 2019 schedule dominated by longer trips it wasn’t easy to slot a visit to Oregon, so we decided on a quick trip just before Christmas. It was a great way to relax for the weekend away from mall traffic and the like.
Arborbrook – we’d been members several years ago, and we try to return on each trip as we A.) love their wine and B.) know that tasting fees are waived with a 3 bottle purchase. As usual, it was a fun tasting, and we came home with the Croft Pinot Gris and the 777 Pinot Noir.
Argyle (x2) – known primarily for their sparkling wine, Argyle also makes a nice range of red and white still wines, so this is an easy place for us to be members. For Saturday we reserved a member session tasting, and as luck would have it, it was just for the two of us! They were pouring three sparklings plus the Spirithouse chardonnay and pinot noir, and may have snuck in one or two others that were open too…
Our favorite of the day was the 2015 Knudsen Vineyard Brut Rose, and we bought a bottle to enjoy with dinner that night. We wanted to taste a few other wines, but didn’t want to be irresponsible, so we made an appointment to return on Sunday.
On Sunday we focused on several of the Cowhouse/Nuthouse still wine options, taking notes to prepare for our spring wine shipments. All in all a great tasting experience at Argyle again.
Brooks – we hadn’t been since 2013, and Eric had heard that they were limiting the wine club list in early 2020, so we drove the 30 minutes south to check out their offerings in the new-since-we-were-there-previously wine tasting room. They picked a great spot with nice views even on a cloudy day.
Brooks is known for their Rieslings and were pouring most of their offerings on the particular weekend we were there. Eric was in heaven! Mike, our friendly pourer, did manage to scrounge up a few reds for Leandra, who was impressed too. Given how much we liked the wines, and club shipping rates, we decided to join up here too.
Bonus: Leandra got a photo with the no-drama llama!
Dominio IV – another winery whom we’ve been visiting for years, and are now members of, Dominio IV makes an intriguing range of wines. Leandra worked through most of the reds that were open, which will help make decisions for future orders, while Eric was quite happy with the ‘Inverse’ Viognier rose.
Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, Newberg – recommended by the folks at Arborbrook, this small brewery was a nice change of pace from the wineries. Eric liked the Instinctive Travels saison, and especially enjoyed the Oude Vat sour, while Leandra had the Kismetic stout and Nut Farm porter (which she really enjoyed).
Cascade Brewing, Portland – Definitely not cheap, but oh so worth it, we seem to go here on nearly every trip to Oregon. The cranberry and apricot sours were great, and the Sang du Chene 2017 (cherry sour) was amazing.
Rosmarino Osteria Italiana, Newberg – On our last trip they were further out in the hills and called AgriVino, but have since moved to a spot in town. As before, we went on Sunday, the famous pizza and gnocchi day, and it was just as good as we remembered from last time – the blue cheese and walnut gnocchi is absolutely outstanding, and paired nicely with a 2015 La Sala Chianti Classico. Leandra had the Bresaola and the Alla Bergamasca gnocchi. We left happy!
Bartini, Portland – By staying in Northwest Portland on this trip we had a whole new neighborhood to explore, and Bartini was a great find for us. Monday night is happy hour all day with cocktails for $5. We put our name on the list and ended up waiting ~40 mins for a table (thankfully a Trader Joes is next door so we went there to burn some time). The cocktail list is impressive, and the food portions were larger than expected for ‘small plates’. We will definitely get in line even earlier on a future trip.
Where we stayed
Hampton Inn Portland-Airport – Just a quick overnight stay here, but it was quite comfortable and reasonably quiet. The free breakfast was surprising, with several hot options including make-your-own waffles, pressed juices and smoothies, and several other cold items. No complaints, would return.
Quiet & Cozy River Retreat – Nice location on the southern edge of Newberg. This is a separate guesthouse, quite comfortable and roomy. Having the kitchen with electric burners and refrigerator saved us money on breakfast and one dinner. The living area was massive, including a pool table, several couches, and a large TV with soundbar and Roku. Wifi was fast too. Our bed was big and comfortable (had a foam topper), and there was plenty of closet space. Bathroom was also quite large. Having our own parking space was nice too. Great stay overall, would return in the future.
The Inn at Northrup Station – Fun place with a lot of personality and colorful design choices. Warm welcome on arrival, with explanation of the amenities (free parking, complimentary 2 hour streetcar ticket) and candy. Our room was large, with a seating area, full kitchen (stove, dishwasher, refrigerator), and a good size TV. The streetcar is a loud rumble, thought it was as a jet overhead at first, but things were otherwise quiet. Breakfast was great with fresh local bagels, Tillamook yogurt, cereal, etc. We will definitely consider them for a future stay, especially since we liked the surrounding neighborhood.