My rural existence is pretty much run of the mill. Over the years I’ve tootled along nicely in a rather bucolic farm and garden sorta life, with a bottle of California wine on the counter for cooking and sipping. Sweet, right?
But in recent years, the relative forest and agricultural landscape that historically surrounded our cottage has morphed into a much heralded Oregon Wine Country region. Who knew the dirt I’ve gardened in for the last 30 years could be so uppity!
Today along our scenic winding roads you’ll see trellised grapevines scampering across hill and dale nestled among the foothills of the forested coast range. Our humble cottage environs, once just dubbed the woods, now bears a distinct designation. Meaning we now live in an AVA (American viticultural area), one of 6 sub appellations of the north willamette valley called Yamhill- Carlton with a predominately marine sediment soil type. And guess what? The most finicky and temperamental grape called Pinot Noir thrives in it!
How fortuitous could life be here in the woods then when at day’s end we could relax on our deck with a world class glass of LOCAL Pinot. Back road excursions have taken me to each AVA with the pleasure of sampling some of the area’s best Pinot. The added icing on the cake is leaving with my soul steeped in some pretty spectacular vineyard views.
I’ve penciled a few notes along the way as folks often do when touring Oregon Wine Country and I enjoy reading publications like Oregon Wine Press that publish critiques on industry offerings. It’s been summarized that Pinot produced from each appellation contain qualities reflective of its vineyards soil type with distinctive flavor profiles respectively. For the taster of Pinot Noir produced from the Yamhill-Carlton AVA it has been written that the aroma of a bouquet of violets presents itself first. Who doesn’t love being greeted with a floral bouquet in a glass, eh? Dark berries predominate the flavor profile at first sip followed by mineralities of earth, spice, and tobacco to list a few. The inherent tannins present in the wine lend to mouth feel, warmth, and acidity. How well they all meld together on your palate is distinctly personal and your call.
It’s been said that it takes near genius in producing top-notch Pinot Noir ( I feel challenged just trying to pronounce it… Pee-no-N’war). The delightful characteristics the vine draws from its soil type is skillfully coaxed by the winemaker, and then coaxed a little more before being captured in a bottle. When successfully done, the experience from aroma, to taste buds, to throat, to long and lingering finish are exquisite. A good tasting room experience will disclose the mystery and mystique of terroir with every sip.
All this artistry in viticulture and wine making in Oregon Wine Country is enhanced further via organic growing methods, biodynamics, and dry farming. An increasingly preferred practice among growers and producers.
Yup, I think the ol’ cottage woman like a good bottle of Pinot is aging well in Oregon Wine Country.
If you’ve been pondering a visit to the North Willamette Valley of Oregon Wine Country, check here for a list and map of Wineries/Vineyards in the various appellations as well as up-coming events.