“Our Grand Meander” – McMinnville
We like staying in McMinnville when we visit Willamette Valley, as there are lots of shops, restaurants, and tasting rooms. Crescent Cafe is a favorite breakfast spot for many. Often, there’s a line outside the door.
Everything they serve is fresh and homemade. The owner seems to always be there (the gentleman in the tie) and he will make sure you have a wonderful time. Fresh breads, hearty food, I always leave stuffed.
We enjoy just wandering around.
Julie was busy shopping in a couple of boutiques she really likes. I found the Willamette Valley Vineyards Wine Center.
Kendra, the tasting room person, explained all about the history of the vineyards and winery. We talked about the different soils at their different vineyards and how they affect the wines.
Willamette Valley Vineyards makes a wide variety of wines and they had several different tasting flights to offer. There were some that mixed whites and reds, and one that featured wines from grapes not usually associated with the area such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
I chose the all Pinot Noir flight, in part because I really enjoy exploring the terroir differences. In my flight, all the wines were from the same winemaking team, vintage, with very similar oak barrel aging. Tasting through the wines showed distinct differences and a few common themes. As an extra treat, Kendra offered to have me taste their Hannah block wine. They take grapes from a single small block from within the Tualatin Estate vineyard. Comparing the Hannah to the broader Tualatin Estate, there were noticeable differences, in part because of the land and in part because the Hannah block doesn’t include the Pommard clone grapes, which the larger Tualatin Estate does.
The Hannah block wine was so distinctive, I bought a couple bottles. One for sometime this fall and one to hold onto for a few years.
My final treat was a taste of their Pinot Noir based port-style wine. I’ve never had a port-style wine made from Pinot Noir grapes. This one was wonderful, so smooth, sweet and full of nutty aromas and flavors.
Thanks, Kendra and Willamette Valley Vineyards!