Oregon’s wine country is a site to behold, and although there are amazing growing regions throughout the state, the Willamette Valley is the heart of Oregon’s wine Country. Willamette Valley is 120 miles south of Portland and sits between the Cascade Mountains to the East and Coastal Range Mountains in the West. This unique geography allows Oregon to grow arguably some of the best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling in the country, and possibly the world (depending on who you ask, of course). The wine business in Oregon only started to blossom in the 1960’s and very quickly became a region of merit. It wasn’t long until French wine maker Joseph Drouhin took notice and started his Oregon vineyard in 1987.
The Willamette Valley has unique climate due to its location between two mountain ranges. It’s a bit cooler than California and has a mix of two different soil types that provide unique wines depending where in the valley the wine grows. Oregon produces wines that fall between California and Burgundy in terms of style, flavor and body. This style of wine tends to be very people and food friendly. The wines are generally very balanced with soft fruit notes, relatively low alcohol and bright acidity. They’re generally well restrained in the “earthy” category, but there are many producers that make great European-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with the forest floor, mushroom and herbal flavors that many people crave.
There are a host of noteworthy producers in Oregon. Domaine Serene, Domaine Drouhin, Willakenzie Estate, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ken Wright Cellars and Firesteed are just a few that have gained national and worldwide acclaim. Domaine Serenes 2010 “Evanstad Reserve” Pinot Noir was ranked number three in the world byWine Specatator Magazine a few years ago, and Willakenzie Estate received Decanter Magazines best domestic Pinot Noir award just last year!
Here at Ocean House, we are very passionate about Oregon, its wines and producers, specifically because the style of wines made in the Willamette Valley lend themselves well to our farm-to-table cuisine.
Intrigued? Join us on June 19th and 20th as we take a closer look at Oregon wines during this month’s From Vine to Wine Weekend.