Wine & Travel

Snooth User: carbonunit1

Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs

Posted by carbonunit1, Jun 17, 2014.

Hello All,

We're traveling from Portland to Napa along the Oregon Coast. Would love your recommendations for:

1.  An exceptional vineyard tasting room near McMinnville.

2. An association or coop, or other tasting facility that represents numerous Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, again near McMinnville.

Thanks very much, Carbonunit1


Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 17, 2014.

You came to the right place.  We toured tried 23 wineries last spring (2013), starting in Sonoma and going up the coast to Portland.  We joined the Domain Serene wine club and the J. K. Carriere wine club while in Oregon.  You can check out numerous pictures of our wine tour here:  If you like Pinot Noir, I highly recommend J. K. Carriere. 

Reply by dmcker, Jun 17, 2014.

Not sure about the best place to do the aggregating you describe, though there are some wine bars in McMinnville that might also serve that purpose.

You should make an effort to hit Shea, Soter and Domaine Drouhin, no matter what.

Reply by JonDerry, Jun 17, 2014.

Glad you mention Soter...that is one I've seen around here and there but for some reason have passed it up. 

CU...I'd second D's suggestion to venture out. Amalie Robert is another top notch producer to add to that list. Cameron would be, but I doubt he hosts tastings.

Reply by dmcker, Jun 18, 2014.

After Willamette, on your way down the coast, you should take it very slow and spend some time once you hit Mendocino. Then the Sonoma Coast. Only then Napa.

It's kinda like driving from San Fran down to Disneyland, Napa being that. The best part of the trip is Big Sur and Santa Barbara and Malibu, which in my parallel are the other wine regions I mentioned.  ;-)

Reply by napagirl68, Jun 18, 2014.

Evesham Wood and Bethel Heights are nearby (relatively).. as is Stoller.  I do have to warn that I have not tasted the latest vintages from these wineries, but I have very, very much enjoyed their Pinots in the past. 

Reply by napagirl68, Jun 18, 2014.

J Christopher is in Newberg...  I have liked a few of their wines in the past as well.

McMinnville is a great home base.  We enjoyed our meal on the roof top of the Hotel Oregon (Mcmenamin's hotel), although it is BEER centric here.  We brought our own wine.  you could ck on the corkage fee policy.  It is nice to look out over the town and countryside.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 18, 2014.

Hey CBU1, nice to see a fellow North Carolinian on the site.  We're going to Portland in July and I've selected a number of wineries I'd like to visit.  We're staying in a VRBO in McMinnville and will do some day trips out into the valley.  I've done some research and found that there's a number of Wineries that have tasting rooms in the city, unfortunately, I have never heard of any of them. They are clustered between 2nd and 6th street.

For our day trips, we'll be focusing on the Yamhill and Dundee Hills areas and hopefully also get to a couple in Newberg.

Here's a link to my Snooth report from our 2013 trip to Willamette and Eugene.

These are the places on my to do list:

Alexana Winery

Alloro Vineyard
Anne Amie
Brick House
Domaine Drouhin Oregon
Domaine Serene
Elk Cove Vineyards
Erath Winery
Evening Land Vineyards
Evesham Wood Vineyard
Hamacher Wines
J.K. Carriere
Ken Wright Cellars
Lange Estate Winery
Le Cadeau Vineyard
Purple Hands
Raptor Ridge Winery
Soléna Estate
White Rose Wines
WillaKenzie Estate
Reply by carbonunit1, Jun 18, 2014.

Thanks to all of you for your guidance. I'll keep you posted on our adventure.

BR, Carbonunit1

Reply by dmcker, Jun 20, 2014.

Looking forward to your report, CU1!

NG's recco about the craft beers on the Hotel Oregon roof is a good one. Nice change of pace and way to refresh a tired palate....

Reply by Julia Crowley, Jun 20, 2014.

There are so many incredible wineries to visit in McMinnville; especially, urban wineries: Remy Wines (read my Snooth article on Remy wines called "Robust Italian Varietals in the Heart of Oregon's Pinot Noir Country"), Eyrie Vineyards, Robert Brittan, R. Stuart & Co., Dominio IV, Matello and Grochau Wines are all located in the historic Granary District of McMinnville and within walking distance of each other. Grochau and Matello are in a coop building that is literally in the same district as all of the other places I mentioned.

Lumos Wine Company and Willamette Valley Vineyards have tasting rooms in downtown McMinnville, on the same street as McMenamin's Hotel Oregon, where they pour their own wine on, yes, their totally awesome roof top bar.

Youngberg Hill (read my Snooth article: "Youngberg Hill's Breathtaking Beauty") is a gorgeous wine country vineyard that also has a stellar B&B and is in McMinnville. 

Honestly, every single one I've listed is "exceptional" and each one represents numerous WV Pinot Noirs (except Remy, who focuses on Italian varietals). All of these places offer far more than one Pinot Noir- they usually have Pinots from different AVAs (sub AVAs of the WV), vineyard designates and even single block Pinots. You'll see exactly what I mean once you arrive and start having the Pinot experience of your life. But, trust me, don't miss Remy just cause she's not a Pinot producer - her wines will blow you away.

Have fun! If you have any more questions, we're talking about my stomping grounds here, so I'm glad to help out in any way. Cheers! 

Reply by Julia Crowley, Jun 20, 2014.

NAPAGIRL68: I've tasted recent vintages of Stoller, Bethel Heights and Evesham Wood - all are stellar, and each of the recent vintages are extremely different, of course. We had a very cool year in 2011, so the Pinots have higher acidity and excellent complexity and depth. 2012 was a warmer than average vintage, so the Pinots are riper and fruitier - less acid than 2011 but just the right amount to round out the fruits to perfection. It was hailed an EPIC year here in the Willamette Valley. But me? I love the '11s with their zippy, zesty acidity.

Stoller has one of the most beautiful tasting rooms in the Valley and is not far from McMinnville, and if Carbonunit1 heads out in their direction, Durant Vineyards/Red RidgeFarms/Oregon Olive Mill is a must-see! The only Olioteca in the state, and they are growing cool-climate olives (and their wine is outstanding, each one produced by different well-known winemakers throughout the valley). 

Reply by JonDerry, Jun 20, 2014.

Also CU...if and when you get to Napa, a good AVA to explore there is Howell Mountain.

Reply by napagirl68, Jun 20, 2014.

Julia Crowley,  Thanks for the update on Stoller, Bethel Heights and Evesham Wood.  Great to hear they are still "stellar", and love the info on vintage!  Thanks...

Reply by Julia Crowley, Jun 21, 2014.

You're welcome Napagirl! If I ever make it to Napa, will you tell me the can't misses? I know Craig Camp of Cornerstone, so that's high on my list. Others include Elyse, Rocca and Sequoia Grove...that's all I can think of right now, but I know there are others. 

Reply by napagirl68, Jun 21, 2014.

Oy.. Julia.. funny thing.  When I started on Snooth back in 2009, I was into Napa Cabs  (I still appreciate them!)  But I am now truly Sonomagirl!  I love pinot... sonoma coast for the most part, russian river, etc.  I also love Rhone varietals...   Mourvedre, Cinsault,  other red or white blends..  I drink rose, many white blends, syrahs that lighter, and a TON of pinot!  Domestic and abroad...

You mentioned an Albarino in your blog.. I love Albarino, and would recommend, here in CA, Pierce Ranch for Albarino, as well as other Spanish varietals.

If you head down to CA, let me know.. I have lots to recommend :-) 

Reply by Julia Crowley, Jun 21, 2014.

Thank you for the Albarino/Pierce V. reco (the terroir looks very interesting there)...huge fan of Albarino! That and Gruner Veltliner are 2 of my summertime faves...well, and a boat load of rose' and rose' sparkling, of course. Like you, I'm also a fan of wines from the Sonoma area...and wow, I just tried three hard cider beauties from Sonoma Cider and totally fell head over heels for Sonoma Cider's "The Anvil." 

When I head down, I'll touch base for sure, cheers!

Reply by dmcker, Jun 21, 2014.

"...and a boat load of rose' and rose' sparkling, of course."

I like Soter's rose sparkling. Have served it several Thanksgivings, though all out at moment and pretty hard to get over in Tokyo...

Good hard cider all over California, even down south, if you know where to look for it.

Back to Categories

Popular Topics

  • posts

Top Contributors This Month

259386 Snooth User: zufrieden
10 posts
1413489 Snooth User: dvogler
7 posts
357808 Snooth User: vin0vin0
7 posts


View All

Snooth Media Network