Sunday we finally made it out to Dundee to experience wine country on the west side of PDX. I still cannot believe that we managed to visit five…FIVE wineries. This wine tasting is serious business let me tell you.
Stop #1: Four Graces Winery
We enjoyed stopping at Four Graces first because their tasting room opens earlier than many others in the area and pours a little later into the evening as well! The tasting house was adorable–a little country cottage. The boys were a little hung over from a private event the evening before, but the tasting room was still in good shape and the wine was lovely. We ended up with a bottle of their Black List Pinot Noir.
Stop #2: Dobbes Winery
We walked into Dobbes Winery just in time for the heaviest downpour of the day! Their tasting room is in a quieter, open area and we were the only ones in to taste for most of the time there. Once the heavier rains broke out the whole room filled with the noise of frogs that sounded as if they were perched all along the outside perimeter of the building. It was quite surreal. After the tasting we ended up with a bottle of Joe’s Secco–a lovely sparkling dessert wine. The only turnoff at Dobbes was the attempt at up-sell. This was not done at any of the other wineries we visited that day, and I feel like it put a slight damper on the tasting. Wine tasting shouldn’t be hard sales in my opinion–it’s about the experience. If something moves you to purchase, then great. If I liked something I’m always open to suggestion toward another variety that is similar to the one I’ve taken a shine to, but don’t blatantly attempt to up-sell to the most expensive wine on the list.
LUNCH BREAK! Lunch was picked well before the wineries were! We had lunch at Red Hills Market, which took everyone in our group by surprise. We showed up to Red Hills at noon expecting a serious lunch rush. We were pleased by how organized the staff was, and we were through the line and sitting eating right on schedule. I had a ham and Gruyere sandwich and crab bisque (which I’m aware doesn’t go together at all–still delicious), and Ktams had their roast beef and blue cheese sandwich. Now I do not like blue cheese (*GASP* I know, I’m made fun often for that fact), but I would eat this sandwich every day for a week. That sandwich was amazing–it was hearty with the ribbony strips of roast beef but sweet, too, with a glaze and just a light layer of a milder blue cheese.
Stop #3: Anderson Family Winery
This (hands down) was Ktams and my favorite winery of the day. Anderson Family Winery was also the smallest winery we visited Sunday; there wasn’t even a sign outside to tell you that you were at the right place! We were very happy for smart phones or we would have been driving all afternoon on the back roads of Dundee. This was also the only winery that was tastings by appointment only, which made it difficult for the people doing the Passport Program as many of them were just dropping in to each place unannounced. We had decided against the program since we were only planning on being out one day. Although it would have been nice to not have had to listen to people leaving confused messages on their phone throughout the tasting, it all kind of fit with the “family” aspect of the winery–casual, honest and welcoming. Interesting fact about Anderson Family Winery–they only produce Chardonnay and Pino Noir–the earliest of which was an ’08! Very nice. We purchased a bottle of the ’09 Pinot Noir–a hot year 🙂
Stop #4: Durant Vineyards
Durant Vineyards had one of the most standard tasting rooms in my experience. It was smaller and mostly windows with a long bar across the opposite wall from the doorway. We were pleased with the wines and had a nice presentation by the staff. We also received a tour of their private tasting room, which had a gorgeous view of the valley, and was available to rent out for events. We went home with a bottle of ’11 La Paloma East Pinot Noir. Right next to Durant’s tasting room is the Oregon Olive Mill, which had a lovely little shop and lots of oils to taste–I would highly suggest stopping by this olive farm on any trip up to Durant’s.
Stop #5: Sokol Blosser Winery
Sokol Blosser was our last stop of the day. By this point I was chatting up strangers, and suggesting other wineries to stop by. Needless to say, I get overly helpful when I drink wine. That said none of the wine stood out to me too much–the place was also PACKED. This meant no informative talk about the types of wines they had or the process that each grape underwent–just smile, pour, drink, smile, pour, drink…which I suppose isn’t terrible by your fifth of the day. We didn’t purchase anything at this last winery.
All in all a very successful trip!
Do you have a favorite winery in the Dundee Hills?
***All of the tastings and wines purchased on our trip to the Dundee Hills were paid for by me.