Tuesday, August 10, 2010

East Willamette Valley Part 2… A Breath of Fresh Air


Wasson Brothers, conveniently located on Highway 26, halfway between Portland and Mt. Hood was established by twin brothers Jim and John, and is generally known for their dessert wines, but is actually the oldest winery in Clackamas County. Wasson Brothers been on the scene for over 25 years and purchase all their fruit locally. They primarily grow all their own fruit with the exception of Merlot, Niagra and Concord grapes. They produce a private label of white Riesling for Timberline Lodge that’s sweet, crisp and fruit. Many garageista winemakers sign up on a list to purchase juice after it’s been crushed but prior to inoculation for home wine making.


The 80–acre Christopher Bridge Satori Springs estate, now owned and operated by the Carlberg family, has been in the family since the 1950’s. 15 acres is planted organically and biodynamically, specializing in estate Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris (and some experimental varieties), with wines made by winemaker Christopher Carlberg. Chris describes wine as an experience, something I’m very akin to. He says he makes his wines so they dance rather than march, glitter rather than blind and caress rather than coerce. Subtle, subliminal beauty. They’ve recently built a lovely tasting room with deck affording stunning and relaxing valley views. A cozy fireplace is sure to warm you in the winter months as does the friendly hospitality all year round. The 2008 Pinot Gris has great acidity and just a hint of residual sugar making it sweet on the entrance yet dry in the mouth. At $12, this wine is a steal!! Drinking the 2007 Pinot Noir was like walking through the forest during summer when it’s been dry for some time. You find some sweet wild raspberries and acidic, tart cherries that taste a bit of the dusty earth. You swear you also detect some roses, but realize your standing next to a wild rose bush, breathing in the sweet and fragrant aromas instead… inhaling the moment.


Oswego Hills – Ahhh, my neighborhood winery and it only took me nearly a year to visit and review it. This gorgeous winery, located just minutes from my house, and extremely accessible from anywhere in the Portland-Metro area, is a surprising backdrop of vineyards, farmland and intricately restored historic barns located directly in the hills above West Linn and Lake Oswego. Jerry and Leslie Marshall own the 40-acre estate and have planted 15 acres, producing their first commercial vintage in 2001. Originally an equestrian center (home to Roy Roger’s horse Trigger), the Marshalls actually lived right behind the property for 40 years dreaming of ownership, until 1997 when they purchased the estate and were able to make their dream a reality. Oswego Hills produces 12 wines, the non-estate wines are all sourced from one vineyard in Benton City, Washington. Oswego Hills is probably known best for their Marechal Foch, tasting of plum, raisin and allspice (and the only red wine that can be chilled), it’s simply gorgeous with a bit of dark chocolate. Visit Oswego Hills and discover the magnificent homestead just a stone’s throw from the city. You'll be glad, both for the welcome escape and the pleasant discovery.

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