Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dundee Hills Passport Tour Wine Tasting

Dundee Hills Passport Tour

Myself and 3 friends trucked down to Dundee, OR for the Dundee Hills Passport Tour. A $10 passport (ours was a lame sheet of paper, as they ran out of actual passports) purchased at Four Graces Winery gets you into most Dundee Hills wineries at a greatly reduced cost (Archery Summit is typically $20, and cost $7 with a passport). We arrived rather late in the day, so after getting our passports and a tasting at Four Graces, set about hitting the big names.


Stop 1: The Four Graces - Free tasting with $10 passport purchase.
  • 2008 The Four Graces Pinot Gris - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    First wine of the day. Light, crisp and slightly sweet, with some nice tropical fruits. (88 pts.)

  • 2009 The Four Graces Pinot Blanc - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Millions of peaches...peaches for me. This wine is all about the peaches. And I really don't like peaches... (85 pts.)

  • 2007 The Four Graces Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    None of us could get past the super-funky smell of this wine. Very barnyard...horse manure, saddle blanket, poop, were some of the descriptive words floating around in our group, that I'm able to repeat here. One bonus, we proved, through a test with water, that the entire contents of a 750ml bottle of wine will fit in a Riedel Oregon Pinot glass, with several cm. left at the top. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Still lots of FUNK in this Pinot, although not quite as noticeable as in the regular bottling. Some cherry fruit is also evident, although still masked by the leather-funkiness. (87 pts.)

  • 2007 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Reserve Black Family Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Now we're talking! This wine is from the top block of their estate vineyard, aged in 100% new French oak for 1 year. And finally the funk is integrated! I get a lot of oak notes in this one, with nice smooth cherry fruit gliding over my tongue. Still a baby of a wine, that will definitely improve with age. (89 pts.)



Stop 2: Archery Summit - $7 tasting fee with passport.
  • 2007 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Premier Cuvée - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    First wine at Archery Summit, poured outside on their patio. Nice, elegant cherry fruit, with a nice dose of dirt mixed in. Smooth and easy drinking, this one. (90 pts.)

  • 2000 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Renegade Ridge Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Yes, you read that right. 2000 vintage. A 10 year-old Pinot, and its drinking like it was just released! Wow. Impressive, Archery Summit! No sign of age in the color, aromas or flavors of this wine. No pruney, porty, stewed fruit. Just crisp, bright cherry fruit, earth, and a hint of saddle leather. Tasty! Poured in the wine cave. (91 pts.)

  • 2007 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Oregon Pinot Noir Red Hills Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Somewhat of a letdown after the incredible 2000 Renegade Ridge. Served in the dark wine cave, it was hard to notice the color, but this was definitely lighter and much more elegant than the fruit-driven 2000 Renegade Ridge. Light cherries, some oak, and that signature leather. (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Arcus - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Arcus. Need I say more? And from the 2006 vintage, one of my favorites. Typically their longest-lived wine, this is still drinking like a baby. Sweet black cherry, with earth, oak notes, and a creaminess that is quite interesting. Served in the winery's tasting room, which was clogged with people. (91 pts.)



Stop 3: Domaine Drouhin - $5 tasting fee with passport.
  • 2008 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay Arthur - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    First wine at DDO. Nice pear fruit, pretty crisp on the acidity. Would work well with a fish dish or as a summer sipper. (86 pts.)

  • 2009 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Édition Rosé - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Very nice rose of Pinot. This would rock with some salmon. Was very tempted to adopt a bottle or two, but resisted the temptation (at least so far). Very light and refreshing, to be consumed (per the winery) within 3-6 months tops. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Not very exciting...2007 vintage, light, with some elegance that is becoming the trademark of this vintage in Oregon. But lacking the mouth-filling fruit I prefer in my Pinots. Cherry and leather flavors. (87 pts.)

  • 2006 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Laurène - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    This is the wine I've been waiting to try at this winery. 2006 vintage, nice solid mouthful of cherry fruit, with a great earthy backbone. Best wine here, but falling behind the Archery Summit Arcus today. Wish we could have gotten a taste of the "Louise", as I hear she would have given Arcus a run for its money. (90 pts.)



Stop 4: Vista Hills Vineyard - $5 tasting fee with passport, and my vote for the coolest tasting room of the day, the "Treehouse". Simply gorgeous view from the main tasting room and deck! Kicking myself for not bringing a camera to capture the view. Also, I'm not 100% certain the wines I've selected from CellarTracker are the correct ones...I had notes, but didn't get the wine details for several of them, so the vintage may be off, if not the designation, for the last couple of wines listed here.
  • 2008 Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Gris TreeHouse - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Smooth, light and very crisp, with a sweet tropical fruit flavor profile. Pineapple perhaps? I like this. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir TreeHouse - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Nice nose of tart cherries, that makes me salivate. Flavors follow...sort of. A bit more acidic than I like, and the fruit seems to be a bit light, when compared to the nose. It is still drinking nicely, and our group enjoyed it. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir Piedmont - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Lighter in color than some others here, and also lighter in flavor. Still, some cherry fruit, with a lot of acidity, and a bit-o-funk. Not very exciting though, and reflective of my general take on the 2007 vintage Oregon Pinots. (87 pts.)

  • 2007 Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir Marylhurst Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    A bit more fruit in this one, strawberries and bitter cherries coming in on the finish. Some tobacco too, which is a nice surprise. Acidity is more under control than the Treehouse also. (89 pts.)

  • 2007 Vista Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir Saga Hills Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Big cherry fruit in this one, surprisingly forward for a 2007. Nice structure also, with an earthy/tobacco finish, lightly tannic. (90 pts.)

  • The last wine we tasted was quite unique...I was so taken by the oddness of it, I forgot to note the actual wine. I actually thought this was a Pinot Noir port when I first smelled it. Very sweet, stewed strawberry fruit, with maybe some rhubarb. Interesting aromas, with the flavors showing a slightly metallic edge. While it was fun to taste, more than a glass would be hard for me to drink, especially without food.(88 pts.)



Stop 5: Dobbes Family Estate - $5 tasting fee with passport. The most crowded tasting room, due to the winery being open the latest (6pm) in the area.
All in all, a great event, and one that I will need to take advantage of again. Fun area, nice wineries, and not too heavy a crowd anywhere, except Archery Summit and maybe Dobbes at the end of the day. My only regret was missing the 4pm closing of Winderlea Vineyard by 10 minutes. One day I will make it to their tasting room!

No comments:

Post a Comment