Wine Down Eugene January 29 – February 4
January in Oregon never ceases to amaze me. It’s as if Mother Nature feels guilty for the months of clouds and mist she casts down on us, so when she sees we are all getting a bit loopy from the looming grayness, she gifts us with two or three days of unbelievable warmth and sunshine.
Her guilt arrived last Friday in the form of a 20-30 degree hike in temperatures along with a cloudless, cerulean blue sky. The second I heard that Oregon’s Coast was going to have temperatures in the upper 60s, I packed up my husband, kids and myself while determined to find a last minute place to stay along the Coast.
Whenever my boys and I are able to get a weekend away (aside from our camping trips), I always book us a place to stay through VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner). A user friendly site that has multiple listings of vacations homes throughout the world, VRBO has numerous photos of each vacation home along with visitor reviews. I’ve been booking vacation homes on VRBO for for almost 15 years and have stayed in homes ranging from luxurious mountain-top log cabins to sand-filled beachfront cottages. There’s really no other lodging comparable to those that are like a home away from home.
Feeling extremely lucky to have found a place on VRBO (last minute) that looked absolutely perfect, the Rhode Island residing owner worked magic by quickly responding to my request, taking our payment and sending us directions and entry instructions within the amount of time it took me to pack a couple bags – I was impressed and feeling very happy to be on our way to the sunny and warm Oregon coast on a late January Saturday. I packed wine, too, of course.
When we arrived at the adorable A-frame cottage painted in ocean-blue, I was thrilled to discover how breathtaking the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean were. The kitchen, living and dining areas were in one room together with the entire back wall made of floor to ceiling glass windows and a sliding glass door. Beyond the door was an expansive deck with a picnic table, lounge chairs and an endless view of sand and ocean. There was a small bedroom downstairs and two upstairs, including the master that had the same view as the deck below. After getting settled in, we took a couple sand discs that were in the garage, some beach chairs (that we brought with us), and headed down the private path to the beach. Within a couple minutes, we were over the dunes and had miles of sandy shores all to ourselves.
Arriving back at the cozy cottage in time to watch the sunset, I opened up one of the bottles of wine we had brought with us: The Pines 1852 2010 Brut Rosé (made from 100% Pinot Noir using the classic Methode Champenoise). It that was the absolute most perfect sparkling wine to sip while watching the sun dip behind the ocean’s horizon; the pinkish-salmon hue of the wine was the exact same color as the sky – and even the flavors somehow mimicked the sunset.
Crisp and fresh aromas and flavors of apples, oranges and lively cranberries flowed on to the palate in lush, juicy waves highlighted by thousands of tiny, dancing bubbles. Mid-palate zestiness led to a lively, long-lasting finish filled with vivacious berry and lemon flavors. The color of the sky became more intense as the sun went down, just like the complexity of the wine became more intense as it graced the palate – resulting in a perfect pairing.
The Pines 1852 is located in Hood River, Oregon, along the Columbia River Gorge and has a very interesting history. Dating back to the late 1800s, an Italian stone mason planted grape vines from his homeland in Genoa, Italy, making The Pines 1852 one of the oldest heritage vineyards in the Northwest. Other wines produced by the Pines 1852 include Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, a couple red blends, and of course, Zinfandel and Old Vine Zinfandel.