Friday, November 28, 2008

Can a Merlot Man Survive in Oregon?

(c)2008 SmellsLikeGrape, ShootingMyUniverse
I took a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit relatives. I was pleased to spend some time with my mother who flew out with me. Unfortunately, Taster B had to work and couldn’t make the trip.

Mom and I had some free time and I decided to take her out wine tasting. This was going to be an adventure because I know next to nothing about the wine regions of Oregon and have not been to the area in some 15 years.

The hotel had a Washington-Oregon wine region booklet, but I wasn’t finding much joy. I though that the graphics were nice, but that was about it. I did decide that Ponzi Vineyards might be within distance of the hotel and decided to consult the GPS. It was an 18 mile trip through Portland and should make a nice little day trip.

(c)2008 SmellsLikeGrape, ShootingMyUniverse
We arrived at Ponzi Vineyards at 10:30 in the morning. Stepping out of the car, the air was crisp and moist and the vineyards had the strange appearance of moss. This is truly the Pacific North West. Ponzi has a beautiful vineyard and a great tasting room. We were greeted by a little sign that said "please ring the bell." The voice cheerfully greeted us and the opened the tasting room. Our host was David Nielsen who introduced us to the flight and chatted with us.

(c)2008 SmellsLikeGrape, ShootingMyUniverseThe first wine was a Pinot Noir Rosato with lively flavors and very refreshing taste. So impressed was I, that I photographed the bottle.

Next was a Pinot Noir, which was an absolutely classic Pinot Noir followed by a really intriguing Chardonnay. In order to give you a reference point, I prefer Sauvignon Blanc to Chardonnay. I have had too many Chardonnays that disappointed me. This Chardonnay was so extraordinary that I forgot to photograph the bottle!

Our host David chatted with us about sniffing corks, serving wines, and wine making styles. This was among the top wine tasting experience that I’ve had and I would recommend Ponzi wines. If you are going to the area, put Ponzi on your short list.

David gave us instructions to visit Dundee, Oregon and stop into the Dundee Bistro. The restaurant is owned by the Ponzi family and is just a great place to have a fun dining experience. I had the Beer Battered Ling Cod and my mom had local sturgeon. The food was excellent, the service was great and the wine selection was fabulous. And remember, I live in a fishing village, so when I recommend a restaurant where I’ve had fish, it’s nothing to “throw back”.

I’ve learned a lot about what makes a good Pinot Noir on this trip. My former lack of excitement about this wine has been exacerbated by having lack luster Pinot Noir wines. Now that I have a good reference point, I’m more interested in Pinot Noir wines.


Richard A. said...

Sounds like it was a fun trip. Oregon is on my short list of places I want to visit, especially as I love Pinot Noir. I am a big fan of Ponzi and am glad that you enjoyed it so much.

dhonig said...

Every time I watch college football and see the Oregon cheerleaders I think I could spend more time there. :)

Taster B said...

Ponzi makes me think of Happy Days!...