After finishing up in Portland, we headed out to the Willamette Valley for some fun in the sun and of course, some vino. Oregon's Willamette Valley is known for their Pinot Noir wines and we were determined to head out there and enjoy a few. We had been out once before and had a good idea of which wineries we wanted to visit, so we headed out early for a fun day of wine tasting.
Our first stop was at Torii Mor winery up in the Dundee mountains. The tasting room has a relaxed asian feel to it, very minimal with a zen garden off the side that guests can enjoy. They also feature a scent wall which I loved as it made it easier to identify the distinct smells and flavors in the wine. For the tasting we started with a white (i think chardonnay... I can't remember as the white was sort of an after thought for me), two Pinot Noirs and a Port.
They also had a furry friend to keep us company while we tasted. The most calm black lab who is just loving life... it's pretty tough being petted all day.
Torii Mor's tasting room is attached to the owners home and they allow guest to wander the property including the homes beautiful deck which overlooks the rolling hills. On sunny days like this, it is so lovely to walk over enjoying the wine and seeing the beautiful mountains covered in grapes.
We took a midday break to grab some food... aka acting responsible. I highly recommend the Red Hills Market in Dundee for either a quick bite to eat or relaxing lunch. The market sells gourmet snacks as well as sit down options and everything is incredibly delicious.
After lunch we headed over to Alexana Winery. Alexana has a beautiful new tasting room with gorgeous views... seeing a pattern yet... we promise we picked based on the caliber of the wine and not just for the views.
The tasting room has beautiful wood throughout and large windows showing off the surrounding mountains and vineyards.
Plus, check out the back deck which overlooks the vineyards... doesn't that just look inviting!
We were eager to get our tastings as the deck was calling our name. We started with a Riesling and followed it up with the 2011 and 2012 Pinot Noirs, which were incredibly different due to the extreme differences in weather, and finished up with the Syrah. They had a Malbec from Argentina also available to taste which was incrediblely good. The wine owner owns a vineyard down in Mendoza, Argentina where they make their Malbec as well as a vineyard in Napa called Revana where naturally, they produce cabernet sauvignon.
I am complete obsessed with the Riedel pinot noir wine glasses. Apparently, a team from Riedel met up with some of the local chefs and wine owners to create a wine glass to better serve pinot noirs. I am in love with the shape of them and would probably use then for all reds. Also, fun fact and party trick, the glass can hold an entire bottle of wine!
After learning a bit more about the wine, we headed outside with our tastings to enjoy the sun and beautiful views.
After finally reasoning that we should move on to the next winery... the back patio was just so comfortable... we snagged a few bottles then headed on to our final stop, Bella Vida Winery.
Bella Vida is an interesting winery as it is more farmer run and less winemaker operated. The owners are the farmers of the grapes as they are relatively new to wine making, and they wanted to first master growing the grapes. This allows them to put extra emphasis on the quality of grapes used in the wines and later they can moving into creating the wine itself. After they harvest the grapes, they hire three winemakers to create three different pinots from the crop. As each wine maker has their own take on it and techniques they all come out incredibly different.
I can't imagine a more relaxing quick and easy break from the hustle of the city and work. The wines were all amazing and the views were unbeatable.
Overall, a great day in the Willamette Valley and some truly spectacular wineries and wines. I highly recommend checking them out if you get a chance to head out here or definitely look for these wineries in a store near you, I promise you won't be disappointed. Happy summer!