Willamette Valley Wonder

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By Courtney Cochran

theTastingRm.jpgWILLAMETTE VALLEY, OR - A big thanks to Jim White over at the NapaMan (napaman.com) blog for tipping me off to the wine wonders available for sampling and sale at The Tasting Room (pinot-noir.com) in Carlton, OR.  Situated smack dab in the middle of the Willamette Valley - Oregon's Pinot Noir heartland - The Tasting Room offers tastes and bottle sales of 40-50 of the state's best under-the-radar producers, many of whose wines aren't available for sale anywhere else.
Where It's At: In the Vault!
Housed inside the old Carlton Savings Bank (built circa 1910), the quaint small town retail store and tasting room boasts a stellar stock of Pinot that's literally kept under vault and key.  But the real booty at The Tasting Room has got to be the spot's impressive collection of Oregon library Pinots, all of which have been stored with care by owner Jay McDonald under ideal temperature-controlled conditions (sadly, not always a guarantee at some merchants).  Besides alighting on a superior collection of older bottles, those lucky enough to make it Carlton will frequently find McDonald himself - who also makes his own Pinot, natch! - on hand to extol the virtues of his shop's offerings.

Or, for a reasonable $25, visitors can look for the proof in the pudding, so to speak, with a tasting flight of Pinots and seek out those virtues themselves.   

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