11 July 2006

pinkfully delightful

i drink red wine and white wine but never pink
it's way to sweet...at least that's what I used to think
until I visited the wine region of Willamette
and now I love pink wine damnit

That is the story of my life so far. I used to think rosé wines were way too syrupy and fruity, the sort of wine that I would have enjoyed when I was three.
BUT...I am on a wine-tasting adventure in Willamette Valley, Oregon (which is by the way one of the most wonderful vacation activities known to those with moderate drinking problems), and I have been schooled in the ways of rosé! The key is to find a dry rosé that has had little or no residual sugar added. The pinot noir rosés we have been tasting in the Willamette Valley are crisp, flavorful, and perfect for a summer evening when you desire more substance than what a white offers, but yet the night is just not right for a red.

If you are lucky enough to live in proximity to a liquor store that organizes wine by region, like Sam's Wine & Spirits in Chicago, and you are lucky enough to have money to buy wine, which is not me after this tasty trip, find the Willamette Valley section, ignore your instincts that tell you rosé is for sillies, and select a rosé for your pleasurous consumption.

Vineyards we visited whose rosés were especially tasty:

prettiest labels ever!

view from Van Duzer

Elk Cove Vineyards
view from Elk Cove

If you would rather just skip the rosé and drink pinot noir, Willamette Valley is known for its pinot noir grapes and wine makers. We tasted pinot noir after pinot noir after pinot noir and we didn't want to stop! Vineyards we visited whose pinot noirs were especially memorable:

Peter Rosback, the winemaker at Sineann, was kind enough to let us taste wines directly from the barrels. Yay! All of the barrels contained wine made from grapes grown at different vineyards. My inexperienced palette could still easily discern differences between the different vineyards and I look foward to seeing some of them in bottles soon!

Witness Tree Vineyard

This is the tree on the label. Upon retrospect, I think we should have walked up the hill and paid our respects to the ancient oak. Instead we drank more wine and gaped at more panoramas.
chardonnay grapes at Witness Tree

Domain Drouhin
Abbey and Anne sip exquisite wine we could only ever afford for ourselves on our fiftieth birthdays.

not so bad view from Domain Drouhin

Dont forget to stay hydrated!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your fabulous vacation and
all the new wine tips!! I too used to shun the pink stuff but will take the leap on your advice...after I
finish off all the frozen watermelon in my freezer for the margaritas!!

LB said...

The Sineann Pinot Noir is the best! We tried it for the first time last year when we visited Oregon. Unfortunately, they won't ship wine to California, so we had to lug three wine bottles back with us by hand (including some Tantrum by Erin Glenn - yum)!

abbie said...

Awesome post--as usual. Can't wait for rose wine nite!

Erielle said...

mmmmmm....watermelon margaritas...fond memories...

lb~ that is so sad that you cannot have wine shipped to you! Those silly, old-fashioned rules. At least you live in a state where you can drive to some vineyards (i guess depending where you live in California). I will check out Tantrum by Erin Glenn.

Abbie~ thanks! We'll have to do the rose wine night soon while the weather is still warm.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been drinking dry rosés in the summer for about the last 10 years, there are some good ones made in the south of France and in Spain, as well as California. I'm really intrigued by your description of the Wilamette Valley vineyards. What's a good time to visit there? The combination of good rosés and good pinots sounds like a dynamite trip!

Erielle said...

Anonymous ~ I would be interested in your recommendations of European and Californain rosés.
As far as visiting Willamette, I'm not really sure when would be the best time to go. From the information I read, it seems like alot of the wine-related events are on Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Weekends, so there might be more to do (festivals, grape-stomping parties?), but there would also be more crowds. We were there in early July and there really weren't many people around, which was wonderful because several winemakers actually had the time to stop what they were doing and chat with us. They probably wouldn't have time to that if they were in the middle of harvesting grapes season. We also were there Friday through Monday, because some of the tasting rooms / appointments are only on weekends, and some of them are only on weekdays.
http://www.willamettewines.com/ was a great source of info on our trip. They send out a free map of the valley that has contact info for most of the vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Have fun planning a trip if you decide to go! I would go again every summer if I could!