Wine Tasting at Beautiful Willamette Valley, Oregon

Lex sez about Elk Cove Vineyards:

Starting out in Tigard, Oregon, which is just south of Portland, we drove out on the 219 Hillsboro Highway toward Gaston in search of our first winery of the day, Elk Cove.  I had been recently told by my sister how beautiful the Willamette Valley was and our drive certainly did not disappoint.  It was a very curvy road through a forest with trees so heavy with moss it felt like a jungle.  Neek drove this first leg and we were wondering how there could possibly be vineyards in a forest so thick.  But suddenly, there was a clearing and before us was a vineyard with a pond that looked so beautiful, to call it magical seems only appropriate!

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That vineyard and pond belonged to Elk Cove Vineyards.  As much as we loved the outside, going inside to taste their wine was even better!  They had a fantastic selection of reds and whites.  No clunkers in the bunch, every pour was unique and delicious.  But my favorite by far was the 2014 Clay Court Pinot Noir.  So smooth, such powerful flavor, but nice subtlety on the tongue.  We were hoping to find a good pinot under $50, but since Neek and I both loved it so much, we decided to spend a little beyond our goal at $60 to get ourselves a bottle to bring home.

Neek sez about Elk Cove Vineyards:

When Lex and I drove up the road to the Elk Cove tasting room, we couldn’t wait to jump out of the car to explore the beautiful landscape.  The pond, vineyard, and flowers were so lush and inviting.

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First we went down to the pond and examined the fuzzy cat tails growing all around.  We walked all around the fields.  The ground had sloping hills which was good for the drainage of the vineyards.  The grapes were still in the early stages of growing and looked like hard green marbles.

Elk Cove was founded by Pat and Joe Campbell in 1974.  There were only several wineries in Oregon at the time.   Due to their hard work and tenacity, their one vineyard has grown to 6 with over 350 acres of vines.  The Campbells are now retired but their son Adam has taken over the operation as the winemaker. Their principal wines are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling.

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The tasting room was comfortable and intimate.  We tried their wonderful Rieslings but I liked the Clay Court Pinot Noir best.  It was difficult to leave but we had other wineries to visit.

Lex sez about Brooks:

Next on our journey was Brooks Wine in Amity.  Again, it was a lovely drive through green country roads.  There was a bit of an incline driving up the hill there, but when we arrived we were absolutely stunned by the view!  There were at least five huge mountains that you could see on the horizon, including Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens.  They had a spacious outdoor deck where you could sip your wine and since it was a sunny day and the wind wasn’t too strong, we did enjoy a few sips out there.  Right outside the tasting room, we had the unique experience of watching workers bottle the wines on an assembly line inside of a large truck.  It was a really wonderful atmosphere!

 Neek sez about Brooks:

I love the logo of this winery!  A dragon swallowing its own tail.  Awesome!

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Brooks was founded in 1998 by Jimi Brooks.  His passion for winemaking is evident in the care he took to the land and vineyards that he cultivated.  Although he has since passed, his son and sister are caring for his legacy.  His story is featured in the documentary about Oregon winemakers called American Wine Story.  Brooks specializes in Rieslings and Pinot Noirs.

The grounds are lovely with examples of biodynamic farming techniques and tiny strawberries growing among the leaves.  Beautiful purple flowers are growing abundantly around and in the distance you could see the snow covered mountains.

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As we made our way to the winery tasting room was on the second floor but we heard some bottles clinking around.  Wine production was occurring on a mobile bottling plant parked near the entrance.  It was pretty fascinating to see that.

The tasting room was spacious and opened up to the outdoor seating area.  We really enjoyed the tasting and felt so comfortable in the relaxing atmosphere.

Okay! I didn’t want to leave here either, but we had one more to visit.

Lex sez about Evening Land Vineyards:

Afterward, we stopped in town and bought ourselves some hearty sandwiches so we could continue our wine tasting on a full stomach.  Then we drove out to the town of Dundee for what would be our last wine tasting before circling back to Tigard.  This tasting was at Evening Land Vineyards.  This did not take place at an actual vineyard, but I am not complaining at all!  The wines were all top-notch and the pourer was very informative and appreciative.  Though our budget was being stretched, we were very lucky that we both fell in love with an incredibly unique rosé. The Seven Springs Estate 2014 Eola-Amity Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir was unique for two reasons: 1) it was unfiltered, which gave the appearance of the wine a snowglobe effect in the bottle, and 2) it was the best rosé wine I’ve ever tasted in my life!  Plus, it only cost about $20!  So we were very happy we were able to get two bottles of wine from Willamette Valley without breaking our budget.

Neek sez about Evening Land Vineyards:

The Evening Land tasting room is located in Dundee, Oregon so we did not see the beautiful landscapes of the previous vineyards, but Holy Cow! What wines!

With views of the Cascade Mountains and the Willamette River, Silver Springs was an ideal place for Al MacDonald and Joni Weatherspoon to plant their vineyard in 1982.  Even though they never made wine themselves, they sold their fruit to a number of Oregon’s best wineries.  In 2005, Evening Land was created and acquired the Silver Springs vineyard.  Since then, winemakers, Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman have produced award winning Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay.

I’m not a very big fan of Rosé wines.  I tend to like darker red wines but this made me reconsider my preferences.  The “snowglobe” effect Rosé was so delicious!  It had smidgen of effervescence that dances on your tongue.  What an unusual wine!  Well, as you can see on the YouTube video, we bought a bottle.  We thoroughly enjoyed this tasting.

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