Wine Country Itinerary: Willamette North Valley

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By Courtney Cochran

Stop 1: Adelsheim Vineyard

A Willamette tour wouldn't be complete without a visit to well-known Adelsheim Vineyard, which boasts stellar views of the Chehalem Mountains from its newly refurbished tasting room just outside Newberg. Founded in 1971, the winery is run by the affable David Adelsheim, a Willamette wine pioneer whose passion for the area and its world-class Pinots runs deep. It's worth going just to taste the winery's nuanced single-vineyard Pinots - the Ribbon Springs Vineyard ($68) is a standout - though Adelsheim's Willamette Valley-classified bottling ($32) is easier on the wallet and does a better job capturing the full scope of the region's signature aromas, flavors and silky texture.

Tasting Room: 16800 NE Calkins Lane, Newberg, OR 97132. Open daily 11am-4pm (tel) (503) 538-3652
Tasting Fee: $15 for 6 wines
Watch My Video of David Adelsheim at the winery

Tip: Take a picnic lunch and enjoy it on Adelsheim's spacious outdoor patio (bottle purchase will be appreciated as a courtesy for using the space). There are no other lunch options in the immediate area, and you'll want to make sure to refuel in the midst of a full day of tasting.
Stop 2: Penner-Ash Wine Cellars
Celebrated winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash cut her teeth making wine at the likes of Napa's Domaine Chandon and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars before settling down in north Willamette's Yamhill-Carlton district, where she and her husband built a stunning sustainable winery on a bluff with jaw-dropping views. There, the wines do more than measure up to the beauty of the spot; don't miss the winery's elegant dry Riesling ($18), fleshy Viognier ($28) and heady Dussin Vineyard Pinot. At $60 it's the most wine pricey of the bunch, but packs so much intense red-black fruit, spice, toast, minerality and awesome length into the bottle it strikes as something you'd pay far more for. Call ahead to arrange a tour of the slickly-designed space before you taste (tours offered Saturdays and Sundays).

Tasting Room: 15771 NE Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg, OR 97132. Open Wed-Sun 11am-5pm (tel) (503) 554-5545
Tasting Fee: $5 for 5 daily wines; $15 for 5 vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs
Watch My Video of Lynn at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

Stop 3: Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards
It's just a short drive from Penner-Ash to family-run Lange, though travelers should be warned that a good deal of the drive is on unpaved gravel road. It's well-maintained gravel, to be sure, but you may want to plan on a car wash upon your return from wine country. Fortunately, adventurers are awarded upon arrival at the charming mountain-top estate with views of both the Chehalem and Willamette valleys and delicious wines in several styles. But like most spots around these parts, Pinot reigns, and tasters will want to savor the likes of Lange's Three Hills Cuvée Pinot Noir ($40) - a blend of three single-vineyard sites - which pairs ebullient notes of red and black fruit with appealing layers of toast, mineral, bergamot and brown spice.

Tasting Room: 18380 NE Buena Vista Drive, Dundee, OR 97115. Open daily 11am-5pm (tel) (503) 538-6476  
Tasting Fee: $10
Watch My Video of Jesse at Lange Estates Winery.

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2 Comments

Hey Courtney -- Here in Charleston WV, we're also loving the Oregon Pinot Noirs. Our local wine shop is all lathered up about the 2007 Provocateur Pinot Noir from JK Carriere. The Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard sounds great, but I doubt we can get it here. Oh well, I'll just have to drink a couple of others.

Charles,

Thanks for the heads up on the Provocateur Pinot - I'll keep my eyes peeled for it over here (how can I forget with a name like that?!). And here's to enjoying the region's awesome bounty - cheers!

CC

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