We were fortunate to be included in a special evening at Yamhill Valley Vineyards, thanks to a former co-worker. We were met by a Party Bus and the vineyard owner, Denis Burger, in Beaverton for a ride filled with tastings and stories .
On our way to the vineyard, we tasted a 2014 Rose of Pinots, a 2013 Chardonnay, and a 2013 Pinot Noir Estate. We learned about how the growing season, rain, and soil affects the wine, as well as about the different techniques used to make the wines. With an hour to spend chatting with Denis, we heard some great anecdotal stories and learned quite a bit.
Once we arrived, we were treated to some 2012 Pinot Blanc along with appetizers. After appetizers, we went on a tour of the barrel room to do some barrel tasting. This is where it really got interesting! We were able to taste wine in a 2 yr old barrel, a 1 yr old barrel, and a new barrel – all with wine from the same single block and all from the same year. They make their barrels locally but use French oak logs. The only factor that differentiated one batch to the next was the age of the barrel. It was so interesting to taste and smell the oak that was imparted to the wine from the different barrels. Then we tasted the same wine from a barrel made from Oregon oak. What a difference! The best part was when we got to taste the finished product made from a blend of the different barrels. It was wonderful.
Dinner was served in the tasting room. We had some tasty lamb chops cooked on the Traeger, as well as salmon, asparagus, and rice. It was delicious! And, it was accompanied by more of the 2012 Pinot Noir Reserve. This was followed by their 2012 Tall Poppy Pinot Noir. We really liked it because it was bolder than most Oregon Pinot Noirs we have had. Since we love big, bold reds, this was right up our alley.
We ended the evening with their 2013 Riesling on the beautiful deck off the tasting room. It was a beautiful end to a gorgeous evening. Since we all came on the party bus, we didn’t have to worry about the drive back home. That’s the way to do it!
While I usually write about places that are dog friendly, the deck at this tasting room is not accessible without going through the tasting room. So, it’s probably best to leave your pup at home when visiting this one. You can, however, say hi to the resident wine dog who comes to work daily with his owner. Update: Since this was posted, I’ve learned that the back deck is dog-friendly. Just check in at the tasting room for access to the back deck with your dog.