Travel Tuesday: Hitting the Orgundian Trail at WillaKenzie Estates

The Gate is Straight, Deep and Wide; Break On Through to the other side ~ Jim Morrison

Break on through is what we did in Oregon, broke through to the other side of Pinot Noir and onto the Orgundian Wine Trail. Here in the picture above, you have the aerial view, which of course I sadly didn't take. But I wanted you to have the bird's eye view of this beautiful property. Their winery and the vineyards are easily located at 19143 NE Laughlin Rd. in Yamhill, OR in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. So please do yourself a favor the next time you're in Portland stop by the tasting room, see the property [take a tour], taste the great wines and relax because after-all you're in wine country.

My most recent visit came as part of this year's Wine Bloggers Conference that was held in Portland, OR making this my second trip out to visit. I was surprised to find some new changes; they have since moved the main tasting room to some new a new spot, with a wrap around deck and a great view of the vineyards. The new spot is not too far from the old building, which still has a view of the fermentation tanks, but is perched upon the area where Mrs. Cuvee and I took our first picture. Just above you can see the picture from the deck.

Here in the picture above, you see the old tasting room, which is still in use today. And in the picture below you can see the brand-new tasting room, which I think I like quite a bit better. But with such a big space, I was surprised that the new bar was not a lot bigger.

After a quick spin through the new tasting room, it was time to take the bloggers out to see what makes the wines so special, it was time to play in the dirt. There was a large hole dug down into the soil so we could see the layers of sediment and complexity that give the grape and wines from this area their distinctiveness.

The next thing we did and thought this was a fun exercise is that we learned to cut-off the wing-man that grow off to the side of the main grape bunch, sucking the life out the other grapes. Which you can see in the picture below.

After that fun and informative trip into the vineyard, it was time to go back inside to taste the wine from the many different wineries who call the Yamhill Carlton AVA home.

Wow, this was a great tasting, that they had lined up for us. Each wine on that sheet told its own story. You had everything from freshly cut cigars, florals to an odd unexpected eucalyptus jumping out of one of the glasses. I also found what I would call all the other usual suspects in Oregon Pinot Noir, things like tar, blackberries, raspberries, coffee and baking spices. Some more subtle than the others, while still others had an amazingly captivating nose. After the tasting, there was an uphill walk to the Triple Black Slopes, tasting wines and sampling appetizers designed to paired with the wine.

There were a few logistical difficulties, but by the time we made it to the top, it was all worth it. Taking into account the considerable heat some of the bloggers wilted like a sun-flower on parched soil, it was not a pretty sight. But none-the-less most of persevered and drove-on wine glass in hand.

Having arrived at the top many of us, including yours truly were awe-struck by the view from the top, thus commanding most of us to get a picture of the view.

Nothing like a wanna-be wine-writer [aka, blogger] who seems to be standing atop of the world, striking the would-be "conquerer" pose. But what to do when faced with a bunch of hungry wine-bloggers and very thirsty vino-sapiens, I know to serve up some more fantastic, to this point untried Pinot Noir, served alongside a generous plate of vittles.

After a wonderful evening of feasting, chit-chatting with many winemakers sitting at our tables, slurping on some the best Pinot Noir that I've ever had the opportunity to taste. It sadly was time to go home, many of us lamented that it would be great to just stay, continuing to take in the view and what we all knew would be a glorious night sky had we stayed that long. Some of us tromped back down the hill as easily as we strode up, but still others needed to be carried back by a passing vehicle, jumping into the back of pick-up. 

All in all, it was a great adventure and I for one learned so much more about Oregon wine that day and look forward to seeing the Orgundian Wine Trail again soon. Until next time folks, sit-back, relax and remember to sip long and prosper cheers!


Unknown said…
Absolutely beautiful photos!

-- Kristy @ Wine Logic

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