Thursday, June 03, 2010

Touring the Wineries of Yamhill Valley

We were supposed to head to the Oregon Coast for the holiday weekend, but DH had just returned from NY and we felt too many things needed to be done around the house to sacrifice a whole weekend, so we just took one day off instead.  You can't go wrong heading to Yamhill Valley when the most wineries are open only two times a year-Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekend.  The sheer beauty of the place takes you breath away, especially on a clear day.
Our first stop was at The Anderson Family Winery, where Cliff and Alison provide an excellent Chardonnay and Pinot.  We met them last fall, when we realized that they were avid Oregon Duck fans, and have been friends ever since.  Their winery is perched on a rocky hill with a commanding view of the valley and definitely worth a visit. (see above) Cliff uses wood barrels from France to age his wines. 
Our next stop was Bella Vida, where you'll find another beautiful vista.  It's an interesting switch-back road leading up to the tasting room, which they are expanding.  Three winemakers bring a boutique approach to the Pinot production. 
They also have a highly rated 2008 harvest, which produced a wine they call Gris-Ling, a mix of 80% Pinot Gris and 20% Riesling.  It has a wonderful flavor and we bought some to pair with an appetizers and salad course at one of our wine dinners.  Not that we consider ourselves experts, we're just in it for the fun!
Of course I come for the amazing scenery as much as the wine tasting, and my camera and sketchbook are always with me to capture some of the beauty at these wineries.
Winderlea Winery was our next stop and I loved the design of their tasting facility, which has garage style doors that open over the valley where their wine in produced.  As we sampled their excellent wines, there was some mention that the winery might hosting food and wine pairing lunches in the summer...definitely something to investigate! 
 Our next stop was at Stoller Winery.  We've been acquainted with Bill and Cathy since we were in an Investment Club with them
many years ago.  They started producing wine in 2001 from grapes on the land that was once a turkey farm, owned by Bill's family.  This winery is very environmentally friendly has has earned lots of certifications for their sustainability.
In addition to their excellent wines, the setting of Stoller Winery is amazing- a perfect place to picnic and  play Disc Golf.
What a fun day!  We did go to another winery, Ghost Hill, but I'm saving that one for another post.  We also stopped on the way home at a wonderful new Inn and Spa for a bite to eat, and that will be in a separate post as well.  If you're looking for something fun to do over Thanksgiving weekend, it's worth the trip to support the Oregon Wine Industry.  You won't be disappointed.

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