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Is there such a thing as a “Dull” weekend in Oregon? Never!

August 23, 2009

Well, at least not during the summertime.

When we first moved here from Baltimore more than 6 years ago it was the middle of winter. In Oregon, that means days and days of drizzle. I think that December I counted 30 days of rain in a row. Don’t get me wrong. I’d take 30 days of drizzle in the winter over stretches of 100-degree-plus temperatures that would drag on in Texas.

But during the summertime, you just don’t have any excuse to sit around at home.

Trillium Lake

Trillium Lake with Mount Hood rising in the distance.

From anywhere in the Willamette Valley, from Eugene on up to Portland, you can be in the mountains in a little over an hour, or at the ocean in just about the same amount of time.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse north of Newport.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse north of Newport.

Then there’s always the option of going wine tasting. And what choices!

The tasting room at Erath has a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The tasting room at Erath has a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Last weekend, we had a wonderful time visiting with Addie at Erath Winery in Dundee. Click here to read about our visit and see more photos on WillametteValleyWines.com. When we arrived, the place was packed, but the atmosphere was inviting, cozy and friendly nonetheless. No stuffy shirts here, that’s for sure. One of the highlights was getting to taste what might be the only Oregon rosé made from pinot gris. Yup. That’s right. Pinot gris. In a state where pinot noir rosés are all the rage during the summertime (and I must confess here that I am a pushover for a dry rosé), my eyes could not believe what I was seeing on the label. Yes, Addie assured me it’s a rose made from pinot gris. I’m not hallucinating (or drunk). The skins are kept in the juices after pressing just long enough for the juice to acquire a beautiful strawberry hue.  We left with a bottle, but should have left with more as I have since found out that production of this wine is very limited and it’s only available at the tasting room…oh well, another reason to visit again soon.

The views from the private deck at Torii Mor where the Terroir Tastings are held are stunning, to say the least.

The views from the private deck at Torii Mor where the Terroir Tastings are held are stunning, to say the least.

On the way back home we stopped off at Torii Mor, where Steven Guy was gracious enough to show us around. They have a wonderful chardonnay, pinot noirs, and (drum roll please) a syrah port that is just this side of heaven. Their grounds are beautifully landscaped in a Japanese style and there are plenty of tables and chairs in the shade for you to linger with a picnic lunch. The interior of the tasting room also has a Japanese Decor. (Torii in Japanese can be translated to mean “gate” and Mor is an ancient Scandinavian word for “earth”) It’s a nod to the Scandinavia heritage of the owner Donald Olson and his love for the Far East that he acquired while stationed in Japan.  If you plan ahead and call, you can arrange for a Terroir Tasting, which is a private tasting out on their beautiful deck overlooking the Olson Estate Vineyard and the Dundee Hills paired with cheese and lite bites ($25). When it came time to head on home Charles and I both agreed we’d be leaving with a bottle of the syrah port.

So much for another lazy summer weekend in Oregon. Tomorrow we visit WillaKenzie. Oh Joy!

— Vic

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