A necessary and brief departure from Art and the Bay Area’s Tri-Valley to that of wine and Oregon (one of my favorite places).
Brief note about the writer: I am a long long way from being a wine expert, only having just begun to appreciate the subtle differences in the red wine varietals.
But, for most Bay Area residents, living near Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena and even Livermore, we can take for granted the great wines that we have fast and abundant access to, including Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet among others. If you live in the Tri-Valley, you certainly might know of Wendte Vineyards, the wineries near Ruby Hill such as Ruby Hill and Mitchell Katz, among other hyper local wineries.
However, one distinctive growing region I’ve discovered this year is quite a stretch north –all the way Oregon’s Willamette Valley –which runs north south from Portland to Eugene through the heart of the state.
This is beautiful country year round, be it for berries in August, trees year round and great food, but a very specific region for wine is Oregon’s Dundee Hills. The wine growers near Dundee, a region punctuated by cool climate and a very sunny summer. See the Dundee Hills Wine Growers Association fo more detail.
Why is this worth a post-and perhaps even a 2 day trip? The tasty/fruity and semi-bold red ‘Pinot Noir’ is amazing from what I tasted this year, especially that of Daedalus Cellars, their 2006 “Labyrinth,” and a piece of of insight from the Daedalus website:
Sourcing from the best vineyards in the state, we work closely with the vineyard managers, diligently monitoring the vineyards throughout the growing season and bringing the fruit in at the last moment when it has reached its fullest flavor potential. In the winery, we monitor the fermentations and, trusting the natural elements to do what they do best, we do as little as possible.