Bring the Willamette Valley into focus through the lens of a single, outstanding vintage. Designed to demonstrate the effect of the valley’s varied landscape on viticulture and winemaking, this weighted analysis of five AVAs from the same vintage brings to light not only the geographic and meteorological differences between each area, but also their historical and philosophical anomalies.
Putting a “time stamp” on the comparison allows you to dive deeper into which AVA calls to you and why. The vintage experience changes quarterly, so you will rarely experience the same wine or vintage twice in a visit to the Inn.
Pinot noir and chardonnay may best be described as the vectors of the wine world, with magnitude and direction that drive home the most noteworthy characteristics of the soil in which they are grown. A glass of pinot noir from Central Otago will not likely be mistaken for one which hales from California’s Central Coast. Nor will a sip of Chablis lead you to imagine yourself in the Russian River. The unique ability of these varieties to coax out certain elements from the landscape comes at a price, however. Wine growers find both to be somewhat temperamental, with a willingness to express themselves only in cool, temperate climes.
Fortunately for us, the Willamette Valley is one of only a handful of regions in the world well-suited to growing expressive, elegant pinot noir and chardonnay. From the tip of Bald Peak, to the Van Duzer Corridor, each of the valley’s three soil types (volcanic, ocean sedimentary, and windblown loess) have a pronounced influence on the resulting wines.
Explore the origins and characteristics of Willamette Valley soil types and just how pinot noir and chardonnay translate their precise attributes into your glass with this focused tasting composed of three stellar Willamette Valley pinot noirs and two exquisite chardonnays.
Despite the current industry buzz, Oregon wasn't always a mecca for pinot noir. In fact, early plantings were anything but — they ranged from riesling and gewürztraminer to malbec, merlot, and cabernet franc. It wasn't until the late 70's that pinot noir truly took root in the Willamette Valley, a fact that's often overlooked by wine critics and consumers.
Today, young winemakers are returning to these early plantings, and to the idea of growing field blends favored by the pioneers. "Co-planting," the act of farming multiple varieties within a single block, has a long and curious history in Europe. The diversity of plant material available to vignerons today, when paired with modern-day vineyard practices and advancements in the cellar, offers us insight into Oregon's next great chapter.
This select flight of six wines, three white and three red, features unexpected grape varieties and methods of farming not often associated with the great State of Oregon. See where inventive wine minds are headed, and how their experiments in the vineyard are playing out on today's wine scene.
There is an old saying in the wine business which details the qualifications of a wine critic as being simply this: someone who has never participated in a blind tasting. All joking aside, the point of this oft-repeated ribbing is foundationally correct. Our most valuable assets in assessing a wine, our nose and our palate, are often thrown for a loop by a third sense which tends to jump the starting gate — our eyes.
Before we have a chance to breathe in even a single atom of wine aroma, let alone allow the beverage to cross the tongue, the eyes have already had a side conversation with our curious, wine-loving brain, signaling said mind to “expect” certain characteristics from the unexplored beverage before us.
In this blind-format tasting, sommelier Adam Kruse removes all preconceived notions of vintage, varietal, and brand from the picture, creating a level playing field from which to learn and explore the true nature of classic Oregon wine varieties. Each wine was chosen specifically for its typicity — that is, its strong representation of varietal characteristics most closely associated with a particular grape.
These experiences require advance reservation. Tastings are available Tuesday through Sunday
at 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 3:30pm. Please allow 60 minutes.
Groups are limited to eight guests. Please inquire for larger group reservations.
Visitors to the Inn may participate in this experience.
Option to add a generous food board to the 12:00 tasting session.
Please allow 90 minutes in this case. $50 per guest
Elect to add a charcuterie & cheese board to any guided flight experience,
with advance notice. $40, serves two