Will-Lam-It. Say it so it rhymes with “damn it” and that’s how Willamette is pronounced.
Our time in the Willamette Valley was way too short. Having heard of this area, but not really knowing much about it even after taking WSET 3 (this delicious area was only covered in one paragraph in the book), I wanted to learn more. And only being a 5 hour drive away from Vancouver (without the border wait), I knew I had to make the trip down.
As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn’t at all disappointed. We weren’t certain how many tasting rooms would be opened. Certainly though, we thought, it wouldn’t be so busy. Fortunately, most tasting rooms were open and I guess people can’t stay away because we encountered lots of ’em!
Since we allocated only one day to wine tasting, we decided to focus on Dundee because there was a good concentration of wineries and tasting rooms without having to drive too far from one to the next.
There are six sub-appellations in the Willamette and the others are: Chehalem Mountains, McMinnville, Eola-Amity, Yamhhill-Carlton, and Ribbon Ridge. The entire Willamette AVA has 15,180 acres of vineyards planted, 610 vineyards and 316 wineries.
We visited Rex Hill, Duck Pond, Dobbes, Four Graces, and Argyle. My least favourite was Duck Pond — the wines were just okay, nothing to write home about. It was the second busiest of all the tasting rooms we went to as well (Argyle was busiest). This may be because Duck Pond is one of the largest producers in Oregon, third to be exact.
My favourites are Rex Hill, Dobbes and Four Graces. I really enjoyed the sparkling Pinot at Argyle and so did the bf. There may have been Chardonnay in it, I can’t remember. I recall feeling cramped in there more and wanted to get out asap.
I suppose I should take notes next time on my favourite wines; it would be good practice for me. Have you been to the Willamette Valley? Which wineries did you visit? And because I plan on returning, I’d love to know where you stayed. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!