Willamette: A wine-lovers destination | NW Wines

By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman

One of the most enjoyable wine regions in the Pacific Northwest to visit is the northern Willamette Valley.

The northern Willamette Valley is less an hour’s drive from downtown Portland, and it combines tranquil vineyards and tree-lined countryside with enjoyable small towns. It is a fantastic touring experience, thanks to more than 100 wineries and at least 15 bed and breakfasts.

While planning your visit to the northern Willamette Valley, here are a few examples of great wines from the region:

— Amity Vineyards 2009 Crannell Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35: Here is a fruit-forward Pinot Noir that opens with whiffs of dark strawberry, boysenberry, black cherry and smokey milk chocolate. A sip makes for a smooth drink of black cherry that evolves into cherry pie flavors with lingering lip-smacking blueberry acidity and a late showing of blueberry skin tannin. Enjoy with a pork loin prepared with LaBarge Gourmet Spice’s Rib Rub.

— Carlton Hill Wine Co. 2009 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District, $50: This wine opens with aromas of black currant candy, elderberries, blueberries and vanilla. On the palate, it reveals flavors of currants, black cherries, blackberries and chocolate orange sticks.

— Luminous Hills 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District, $28: This remarkable Pinot Noir opens with aromas of saddle leather, a whisper of smoke, mint, mocha, tobacco leaves and dried blackberries, followed by flavors of black olives, dark chocolate, black raspberries, elderberries and a nice cigar. It’s a mouth-filling wine backed with bright acidity and moderate tannins.

— Raptor Ridge Winery 2011 Pinot Gris, Oregon, $18: This remarkable wine hints at Squirt soda and Granny Smith apple with just a whiff of toasted wheat bread. On the palate, it’s loaded with apricot, apple, mouthwatering lemon and gooseberry. Enjoy with a plate of oysters.

— Redman Wines 2010 Redman Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge, $35: Inviting aromas of strawberry/rhubarb jam, raspberry, cherry and milk chocolate are realized inside.


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