Last Wednesday I had a day off and it was a gorgeous day, so I thought I would go check out the Willamette Valley and do some wine tasting. I work in the heart of wine country and I am constantly sending people to these incredible estates and vineyards and I have never been to any of them. I figure if wine tasting will help my career, then I must have it pretty good. :)
My first stop was Beaux Frères and I am so lucky I had the opportunity to visit this winery. Beaux Frères translates to brother-in-law in French (not beautiful brothers, as some might think). Michael Etzel is the winemaker and proprietor and started this winery with his brother-in-law Robert Parker. Both are incredible men. Michael Etzel took time out of his busy schedule to give us a tour of his beautiful property and explain his wine making process. His knowledge, love for growing the fruit and passion for his trade is amazing. I could have listened to him speak for hours. We tasted three different wines after our tour, all Pinot Noirs from different grapes and different vintages. The tasting room is small, but very quaint and just enough space to taste some delicious wine. This is only the second time I have been wine tasting and I truly appreciated every minute of it.
Next we went on to visit Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. What an incredible tasting room they have!
I wish I would have taken pictures of the special events space and the gorgeous view. When you walk in, there are open windows so you can see all the wine vats and barrels and then the tasting bar is directly to your right. We tasted about five different wines and I tried the 2009 Roseo wine, which was a first for me. It has a lot lighter body than their Pinot Noirs and is a lot more refreshing, but it still comes from a variety of Pinot Noir grapes. Perfect for a warm summer afternoon!
Next, we ventured on down the hill back into Dundee and decided to check out the Argyle tasting room. We just stumbled upon it because it is literally right off the 99W Highway. I like the convenience of it, but it did not have the view like Penner Ash. I would recommend this winery to finish the day because it is such a quick stop. They have a gift shop area too, so if you are looking for wine souvenirs, this is your place. I was excited to try their sparkling wine because we deliver bottles of the Argyle Brut to guest rooms as part of one of our packages. I tasted the 2006 Argyle Brut and the 2007 Argyle Brut Rosé. Yummy! I love bubbly wine...makes me feel like I am celebrating something.
That was the end to my day of wine tasting, but I would call it a success. I visited three great places but all of them had their unique qualities and atmospheres. I think I have about 300 more wineries to go...and the fun begins!