There aren’t many places I’ve been to that are as beautiful as Oregon is, especially in late May when almost everything was in full bloom. The weather was, as I was told by the locals, unusually nice for this part of the country with sunshine pretty much everyday. The city of Portland is a nice mix of city and rural wilderness with great hikes just a few subway stops away from downtown. After one of those hikes one day on a hot, sunny afternoon we decided to take advantage of one of Portland’s best brew pubs, Deschutes, where we enjoyed a sampling of what they had on draft that day. The highlight was definitely their 21st anniversary Barrel Aged Black Butte Porter, with a couple years age on it, was drinking real nice with those delicious, sweet bourbon notes.
Going out to dinner in City of Roses was awesome too, we never had a bad meal at any of the restaurants that we ate at. It seemed that all the places that we went to really focused on the farm to table concept and it really comes through in the flavors of the food. Everything from the cheese plates to the cuts of meat to simple sandwiches were all really fresh and flavorful whether it was served from one of the many food trucks or on top of a linen covered table.
After a short day trip out to the coast to Cannon Beach and another hike along the coastline with views that can’t be described in words we made our way about an hour south to the Willamette Valley for a weekend in wine country. The hospitable folks over at Argyle Winery were gracious enough to host us in their guest house, The Nuthouse, a cozy house within walking distance to many great restaurants in Dundee. However if you go to Oregon Wine Country, go to the small town of Lafayette and go to Martha’s Tacos. A life changing experience and where a lot of the vineyard and winery workers go after a long day in the fields. We ordered a few menu items a shared every last bite, hands down one of the best meals I’ve had with the stand out being their wet burrito.
On our first full day in Dundee we started out with a full tour of Argyle. They are renown for their sparkling wines but as they told me and from what I tasted, you can’t make good sparkling wine without making good still wines first. And they sure make good wine. Sourcing their fruit from four vineyard sites in Willamette they make top notch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and small amount of Riesling as well as some dessert wine. We happened to be there on the day that they were disgorging their 2001 Extended Triage Sparkling which was an absolute treat to taste something that is almost 10 years old and is just ready to be released. After going to the barrel room and tasting some samples of the 2010 vintage right out of the barrel, our tour had come to an end but the day of tasting had just started. The rest of the afternoon we drove to Carlton and around Dundee visiting wineries such as Lemelson, Carton Wine Makers Studio, Lange, Tori Mor and finished up the day with a glass of wine on Anne Amie’s patio overlooking the entire Valley. The only regret I have about this whole trip is that it was only a week long, I could’ve stayed for another couple weeks.