Now that the holiday festivities are over, and we’ve finally boxed up and stowed away our Christmas decorations, I’ve been spending the day reflecting back on some of the many stellar wines I enjoyed throughout 2011. There was no shortage of delicious Oregon selections that were enjoyed with friends and family, but there’s at least one wine from each season that has left an everlasting impression.
My most memorable wine from the Spring of 2011 was the 2009 King Estate Signature Pinot Noir. Each year, my husband and I celebrate our anniversary with dinner and a bottle of wine at King Estate Winery. Even though the Willamette Valley got drenched for the most part of spring and summer, we were lucky to find ourselves sitting out on the deck at the winery for a brief one day pause of April rain. As usual, King Estate’s Pinot Noir was delicious, but I distinctly remember enjoying the creamy mouth feel and lingering finish.
In the summer, we headed over to our favorite camping spot on the Oregon coast. We could see the ocean from our site, and the salty air was surprisingly warm and without a breeze. While we watched the sun set along the mesmerizing burnt orange horizon, we sipped on a spectacular chilled white wine: Apolloni 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc. Another Pinot that loves the cooler climate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this unique wine was made in the traditional Italian Pinot Bianco style. The crispness and bright acidity displayed in this floral wine were extremely refreshing, and we continued to enjoy Apolloni’s Pinot Blanc throughout summer.
In the fall, the colors that unfold and cover the landscape of the Willamette Valley never cease to amaze me, and this year our drive through the fall colored countryside that surrounds Eugene took us out to King Estate Winery for yet another King Estate wine that has no intention of leaving my memory…ever. The 2009 King Estate Bradshaw Vineyards Vineyard Designate Pinot Noir is one of the most outstanding Pinot Noirs I have ever had. It’s orange zest, pie spice and oak aromas showcased Willamette Valley fruit like none other, and its firm, well rounded tannins and jammy flavors were unmatched.
I think it’s safe to say I’m living in the perfect place for me, because the wine that I most recently enjoyed on New Years Eve was also a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Authentica Wine Shop had a free tasting on Saturday, December 31st of some excellent French Champagnes and still wines; however, I ended up taking home an Oregon Pinot Noir, which was a 2010 vintage from Bergstrom: Old Stones Pinot Noir. Although I initially thought a 2010 may be too young to thoroughly enjoy, the fruit forward flavors of cranberry, black cherry, cinnamon and earth, were showcased in its entirety: absolutely delicious and the perfect wine to celebrate the ending of 2011.
With only three days into the new year, blue skies, and an Oregon Duck Rose Bowl win; 2012 in the Willamette Valley has had a stellar beginning.
Happy New Year!
Wine Bars & Wine Shops
16Tons (Union Cafe/Supreme Bean): Thu. 5:30 or 8 pm, 2 sessions available for Cheese Wars III: Wine vs Beer, a benefit for Greenhill Humane Society. 2864 Willamette St. #500, Eugene.
Wineries without Walls (wine shop & tasting room): This wine shop and tasting room showcases local wines and is located inside the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center in Veneta. 24949 Hwy. 126, Veneta.The last tasting event and the last day the shop will be open for 2011.
Café Soriah: Wed. celebrate Wine Wednesdays. All day half off bottles of wine, including local notable names such as BrickHouse, Capitello, King Estate and Broadley. 384 W. 13th Ave., Eugene.
Territorial Vineyards and Wine Co.: Thu. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with Tim McLaughlin (Tim and special guests jam); Fri. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with Strange Charm (Jazz Rock Blues); January Art: Valisa Higman. 907 West Third Ave., Eugene.
LaVelle Club Room at 5th Street Market: Wed. 5-8 pm, half off glass pours for ladies; Thurs. and Fri. 6-8 pm, live music. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.
Authentica Wines: Tue. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, and Sat. 10 am – 5 pm. Wine tasting available every Saturday at the Wine Bar, and on the first Friday of each month during the Art Walk. With a focus on artisan, small production wines for every budget, you’re bound to find something you love at this wine shop. 766 W. Park St., Eugene.
Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar: Mon. – Fri. 4-6 pm Happy Hour, tap beers $2 and house wines $4.50. 174 East Broadway Ave., Eugene.
Broadway Wine Merchants: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free Friday Wine Tasting; 17 Oakway Center, Eugene.
Sundance Wine Cellars: Fri. 5-7 pm, Frugal Friday wine tasting with Mario; Sat. 5-7 pm, wine tasting featuring local and regional wines; 2441 Hilyard St., Eugene.
Steelhead Brewery: Sun. – Sat. 11:30 am – 11 pm, open later on Fri. and Sat., In addition to their own wine, Steelhead Red, you’ll find almost 20 wines by the glass, including 5H, Hinman, Erath and King Estate. 199 East 5th Ave., Eugene.
Le Bar at 5th Street Public Market/Marché: This new bar has an incredible wine list. 296 East 5th Ave., Eugene.
Marché Provisions: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free weekly wine tasting. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.
Mac’s at the Vets Club: Wed. 6-9 pm, Wine, Jazz & Variety Show with Gus Russell & Paul Biondi. A different Oregon winery is featured each week. $8 Burger and Brew night, too. 1626 Willamette St., Eugene.
Café 440: Wed., all day. Wednesday Wine Flights, taste three whites or reds for $10.50. 440 Coburg Rd., Eugene.
B2 Wine Bar: Happy hour Mon.-Fri., 4-6 pm, and 9-10 pm Loads of Northwest wines offered here. 2794 Shadow Dr., Eugene.
Red Agave: Excellent wine list, including Oregon’s finest from King Estate, Territorial, Evesham Wood and Cristom, to name just a few. It’s impressive. 454 Willamette St., Eugene.
Cork and Bottle Shoppe: Fri. 4 pm, free weekly wine or beer tasting. The Cork & Bottle Shoppe is one of Oregon’s only liquor stores that carries a large selection of local and international wine and craft beer, in addition to liquor. 812 Beltline Rd., Springfield.
Jiffy Market: Fri. 5-7 pm, free wine tasting, house picks and pours; Sat. 6-10 pm, purchase a whole sandwich from the deli and receive a Ninkasi pint for $2. 3443 Hilyard St., Eugene.
Café Zenon: Tues., Fifty percent off bottles of wine; Mon-Fri. 5-6:30 pm, $1 off glasses of wine and pints of beer. Find King Estates’ Domaine Pinot Gris and Capitello’s Sauvignon Blanc here at half off on Tuesdays. 898 Pearl St., Eugene.
Izumi Sushi and Grill: Izumi has great sushi and they offer local wine and beer from Hinman, King Estate, Ninkasi and Oakshire. 2773 Shadow View Dr., Eugene.
Sabai Café and Bar: Wines by the glass, $6 and under; excellent local wines from Territorial, King Estate, Capitello and Benton-Lane. 27 Oakway Center, Eugene.
June Restaurant and Bar: Tue. – Sat. 5-6 pm Happy Hour. Their wine list has some great local wines. 1591 Willamette St., Eugene.
Agate Alley Laboratory: Sat. 10 pm, Late Night at The Lab with $1 off glass pour wine, $3 well drinks and pints, $9.50 pitchers & appetizer special. Twenty-five varieties of wine for $25 dollars. 2645 Willamette St., Eugene.
Kiva Grocery: Wine department focuses on affordable Northwest wines, small European wines and organic wines. Ten percent off mixed cases, 15 percent off unbroken cases. 125 W. 11th, Eugene.
Café Lucky Noodle: Tue. 5:30-7:30 pm Wine Night – all bottles 35 percent off; complimentary wine tasting in the lobby; excellent wine list. 207 East 5th Ave., Eugene.
Granary Wine Bar: Wed., all day, $5 glass pours of house white or red. Find Patchwork Cellars’ delicious Pinot Noir here. 259 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.
Cornucopia Maize Lounge: Daily happy hour 3-6 pm – “3/3/3 at 3” special, three-dollar micros, wells and wine. 73 E. 13th Ave., Eugene.
Wineries and Vineyards
Spencer Creek Cellars/McBeth Vineyards: January through March, by appointment only,
Wine Tastings in the Barn. 541-521-4381. 85162 McBeth Rd., Eugene.
Sweet Cheeks: Fri. 6-9 pm, Twilight Tasting, sample pairings of Sweet Cheeks wine with Oregon-made artisan cheeses while listening to live music; Sun. 12-6 pm, Mimosa Sundays, Fine sparkling wine and live music from 2-4 pm. Bring your own brunch. 27007 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.
Domaine Meriwether: Daily 11 am – 4 pm, world renowned Meriwether and Capitello wine can be sampled in the tasting room. 88324 Vineyard Lane, Veneta.
Benton-Lane Winery: Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 5 pm, enjoy one of the Top 100 wines of the world: Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Gris. Available in the tasting room by taste, glass or bottle. 23924 Territorial Hwy., Monroe.
Pfeiffer Vineyards: Open Mon.-Thu. 11 am – 5 pm and Fri./Sat. 11 am – 9 pm, Watch the games on the big screen in the tasting room while sipping Pfeiffer wine by the fireplace. 25040 Jaeg Rd., Junction City.
Silvan Ridge Winery: Open daily 12-5 pm, Fri. 12-9 pm, Complimentary taste of five wines in addition to several limited wines that may be tasted for a fee. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.
King Estate: Open daily 11 am – 8 pm. Sample some of Oregon’s finest wine, dine on gourmet cuisine, and enjoy a valley view that’s unmatched. Their Acrobat Pinot Gris was recently Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Week. 80854 Territorial Hwy., Eugene.
Sarver Winery: Winter hours: Mon.-Thu. by appointment, Fri.-Sun., 12-6 pm. Sample the different styles of Pinot Gris produced from their 25-year old estate vines, along with full-bodied reds like Cabernet, Syrah and Petite Sirah while taking in an unobstructed view of the Cascades. 2600 Mayola Ln., Eugene.
Chateau Lorane: Open daily, 12-5 pm. Stop by and taste some of their multiple award winners: Melon De Bourgogne, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Asian Girl Merlot, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and their double award-winning Red Bordeaux blend, Entourage. 27415 Siuslaw River Rd., Lorane.
J. Scott Cellars: Tasting room located in The Wine Place in Yachats. Be sure to stop by and taste these excellent small boutique handmade Rhone varietals from the Pacific Northwest. Specializing in Roussanne, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet…and a little Pinot Noir. 373 North Hwy. 101, Yachats.
Abbelone Vineyards: Another fabulous winery without walls; check back frequently to find out where you can sample their delicious Pinot Noir.
Brigadoon Wine Co.: Winter hours by appointment. Call 541-998-8708. Try Brigadoon’s three excellent wines: a Pinot Blanc and two Pinot Noirs, which can now be enjoyed on their lovely deck with a view, — or if it’s raining, you’ll be invited into their kitchen. 25166 Ferguson Rd., Junction City.
LaVelle Vineyards (winery in Elmira): Friday Night Flights is officially over for the winter season, but it will be back soon. Visit the winery daily, Mon.-Fri., 12-5 pm, and Sat.-Sun., 12-6 pm. 89697 Sheffler Rd., Elmira.
Saginaw Vineyards: Fri. 6-9 pm, Friday Night Live in the Barn featuring Farmer Jimmy (Americana/Celtic); Open daily, 11 am – 5pm. Sample their traditional style wines in their tasting room located in the original building of a 1905 farmstead. They also specialize in farm fresh fruit wines. 80247 Delight Valley School Rd., Cottage Grove.
Stanton Vineyards: Another local “winery without walls,” so keep an eye out for events where Charlie Stanton will be pouring his delicious wines. Bottles sold at Sundance, Market of Choice, Wineries without Walls in the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce & Authentica, and in restaurants Marché and Eugene Country Club.
Noble Estate: Open 7 days/week, 12-5 pm. Tasting room with beautiful patio and gorgeous view,. 29210 Gimpl Hill Rd., Eugene.
Briggs Hill Winery: A winery without walls. Check back frequently to see where and when they will be offering samples of their wine.
Iris Vineyards: Mon.- Fri., 11 am – 3 pm. Stop by their state of the art winery and tasting room in Cottage Grove. Three-dollar tasting fee includes free wine glass, cheese and crackers. 195 Palmer Ave., Cottage Grove.
Patchwork Cellars: Christian Fox, owner of Patchwork Cellars, pours his excellent wine at certain events around town. Check back often for his schedule of tastings.
Capitello Wines: Another local winery without walls, so keep an eye out on Capitello’s Facebook page for upcoming events and tastings.
Dylan’s Run: Another winery without walls. Keep an eye out for tastings at the Fern Ridge Chamber of commerce, Wineries without Walls.
Save the Date or Reserve Now
16Tons (Taphouse): January 12, 4-6 pm. Flat Tail Mustache Rye’d Release and Free Tasting. They will tap our last keg of Local’s Only Plum Wit and at least 3 other unique Flat Tail Beers. 265 East Thirteenth Ave., Eugene.
Silvan Ridge Winery: Jan. 19, 6 -8 pm. Evenings with the Winemaker- Quarterly educational and fun events with winemaker Jonathan Oberlander. Guided wine tasting will feature their Bordeaux varietals. Advance reservations required 541-345-1945. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.