30th September, 2015

WineGeese Oregon’s Willamette Valley Tour 2015

Date : 30th September, 2015


Willamette Valley preliminary description
(as of 23 September 2015)

30 September to 5 October 2015

Violets . . . cherries and strawberries . . . forest undergrowth . . . spices . . . the alluring bouquet of the seductive Pinot Noir, the most aromatically gorgeous red grape. From its home in Burgundy, France to Califoia, Germany, New Zealand, Chile, and even Argentina’s Patagonian desert, this most challenging of grapes attracts the intrepid winemaker the world over. Will the best wines of the US ultimately emerge from this northwest haven? All of this and more is ours to explore in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The WineGeese are heading to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to explore the ravishing Pinot Noirs being produced by Califoia’s shy and discreet northe neighbor. We will taste the acknowledged greats and uncover some hidden gems for your enjoyment. Praised extravagantly by Wine Spectator, Decanter, Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, and Antonio Galloni, the Willamette Valley promises great things for the WineGeese.
Day One | Wed 30 September 2015

Our home for the five nights of the tour will be at the four-star Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon wine country’s premier luxury destination resort one hour south of Portland Inteational Airport, surrounded by vineyards, flower and herb gardens and spectacular views of Parrett Mountain, the Chehalem Mountains, and the Dundee Hills. The Allison Spa features private treatment rooms, two saunas, steam rooms, pools, and fitness studio as well as a full service hair and nail salon..

Our evening will be spent in the company of Irish-bo Trisha Rogers, founder and partner at R Stuart & Co with her friends Rob and Maria Stuart. They founded the winery in 2002 having worked together with one of the great pioneers of Pinot Noir in Oregon, Dick Erath of Erath Vineyards. Highly respected winemaker Rob Stuart, with over 30 years experience in the wine industry, sources fruit from vineyards around the state including Ana, Melrose, Courting Hill, Temperance Hill, Weber, and Winderlea. The flagship varietals are a Pinot Noir, a Pinot Gris, and a sparkling wine, Rosé d’Or.

Trisha’s background in science, analytical chemistry, and literature with years involved in wine and food led her to write the exuberant and eye-opening The Zing! thing, a way of seeing and understanding wine and food anew. We will explore the R Stuart & Co wines at Nick’s Italian Café in the heart of McMinnville – where the food movement began in Oregon, where the winemakers gather, and where so do we.

Oveight The Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg, Willamette Valley

Day Two | Thu 1 October 2015

Our late moing departure for a private tour and lunch will bring us to JK Carriere Wines led by its talented and much-respected winemaker and owner, Jim Prosser, who established the winery in 1999 in a working hazelnut orchard in Yamhill County atop the red rock and cobble of Parrett Mountain. The winery’s name is a combination of his grandfathers’ names and represents a covenant he holds with their integrity. He aims for classically structured wines, age-worthy, with high-acid and smooth tannins. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Stephen Tanzer’s Inteational Wine Cellar, Wine Enthusiast, and PinotFile all have awarded these wines scores in the low- to mid-90s. JK Carriere – graceful and age worthy Pinot Noir, staggering views, wild-eyed winemaker, classically Oregon.

Following our light lunch we will head to Owen Roe (named after the famous Irish patriot), led by Belfast-bo David O’Reilly, whose wines enjoy a near-cult following. He crafts powerful Pinot Noirs as well as Chardonnay, Riesling, and several red varieties from other regions. Parker, Tanzer, Wine Enthusiast, and others regularly give his wines ratings in the low- to mid-90s. David O’Reilly produces three distinctive levels of wine: the O’Reilly’s (with the Irish wolfhound on the label), the wines with the Owen Roe woodcut label, and the vineyard-designate highest-end wines with photograph labels of Old Ireland. Some of the vineyard sources are in northe Oregon and Washington. O’Reilly Pinot Noir and Owen Roe Sharecropper Pinot Noir are Willamette Valley blends that are inexpensive and wildly popular.

This evening we dine at the small and secluded vineyard Native Flora hidden in the Dundee Hills with owners Scott and Denis Flora. Scott – half Irish (Casey and Luckie) and half Italian – also serves as winemaker along with Patrick Reuter. Founded in 2005, the estate comprises 33 acres of which 15 are under vine. Rusty Gaffney of the PinotFile finds their Pinot Noir quite seductive, but reserves his highest praise for their sparkling wine, which he calls “a spectacular wine in every way . . . truly unique . . . fitting for any special celebration”. Spectacular wines perched atop Warden Hill where the vistas entice as much as the wines.

Oveight The Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg, Willamette Valley

Day Three | Fri 2 October 2015

Our early moing departure brings us to Burgundy’s first venture into the New World. In 1961 Robert Drouhin, then-chairman of Maison Joseph Drouhin, came to Califoia to explore investment opportunities. His interest in Pinot Noir, which had not achieved success in Califoia yet, led him ultimately to the Willamette Valley. He established Domaine Drouhin Oregon in 1988 from where they now produce exquisitely elegant wines in the Burgundian style, but with Willamette Valley boldness. We will have the opportunity to compare these beautiful wines with the Burgundies of Domaine Joseph Drouhin.The winemaker at Domaine Drouhin Oregon is Véronique Drouhin-Boss who also overseas winemaking for their properties in Burgundy. Jancis Robinson describes the wines as hugely impressive, though “perhaps not as sweet and ripe as many Oregon Pinots, they beautifully express the Dundee Hills with a French accent”. These wines regularly score in the mid-90s.

Following our tour at Drouhin we will visit their neighbors at Domaine Serene for a tour and tasting lunch. Grace and Ken Evenstad founded their winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1989. The winemaking team isled by Erik Kramer.Their 2010 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir was named #3 Wine of the Year in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2013 receiving a score of 95 points. They regularly receive scores in the mid-90s from all the leading publications. Their long-time passion for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay has led them to purchase Château de la Crée in Burgundy (Côte d’Or), owning vineyard property in Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay, and Maranges planted both to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, several are designated Premier Cru, and there are two unique Monopoles.

We dine tonight at Recipe, the winemakers’ favorite, in a classic Victorian home in the heart of old town Newberg, showcasing rustic, yet refined preparations of wine country cuisine. Time honored cooking methods and techniques take the forefront when composing daily menus. Chef and owner Paul Bachand will lead us through a specially prepared feast showcasing the exquisite Willamette Valley wines.

Oveight The Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg, Willamette Valley

Shea Vineyard

Day Four | Sat 3 October 2015

Moing departure for a tasting at Bergström Wines. John Bergström, MD founded the family winery in 1999 when his son, Josh, retued from postgraduate studies in viticulture and oenology in Burgundy. Josh Bergström serves as general manager, winemaker, and vineyard manager. The original 13-acre vineyard has expanded to 85 acres where they farm five estate vineyards (Bergström, de Lancellotti, Gregory Ranch, Winery Block, and Pre du Col) all of which are biodynamically farmed. Though 80% of production is estate grown, Pinot Noir is also sourced from Shea Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard. Wine experts disagree only in the extent of the superlative applied to the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced at Bergström, regularly scoring these wines in the mid-90s.

Next we will head to Shea Vineyard for a tour and lunch. Willamette Valley produces beautiful Pinot Noir wines and many of those great wines come from Shea Vineyard where Dick and Deirdre Shea have established the superb reputation of their 200-acre vineyard. In 1996, Shea Wine Cellars began holding some 20% of the fruit for their estate-bottled wines. The other 80% is dedicated to one of the largest and most prestigious lists of winery clients in Oregon and Califoia for any vineyard in the US.

Their client list includes Antica Terra, Beaux Frères, Bergström, Elk Cove, JK Carriere, Penner-Ash, Raptor Ridge, Rex Hill, and Scott Paul. Needless to say, Dick and Deirdre Shea produce superb wines from their own grapes, the wines having become a cult-classic collectible, eagerly sought by Shea aficionados.

Following our lunch at Shea, we will head to Alloro Vineyard, where we will be met by winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick. David Nemaik, the CEO of Pacific Coast Fruit Company, is the founder and vineyard manager. Established in 1999, the 78-acre property is planted to Pommard and Dijon clones. Located in the weste reaches of the Chehalem Mountains, the summer days linger leading the wines to have a more generous fruit profile than a number of other Willamette Valley producers. The wines are richly colored and textured as well with a characteristic floral rose note. Certainly Parker, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, and many others find them so, regularly awarding them scores in the low- to mid-90s.

Alloro, the Latin and Italian word for laurel, symbol of immortality in ancient times and a symbol of peace and victory today; situated on Laurel Ridge, in the Chehalem Mountains and planted in the Laurelwood soil series. The story comes together clearly.

Oveight The Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg, Willamette Valley

Ponzi Vineyards Carlton Hill wine label and The Allison Inn & Spa

Day Five | Sun 4 October

Our late moing departure will find us heading to Carlton Hill Vineyard for a private tour and lunch with David and Tara Polite. Following a career as an attoey for the Securities & Exchange Commission in New York City, David Polite resisted no longer the Pinot-growing dream and has been cultivating his Carlton Hill estate since 2002. When he’s not mowing, weeding, hedging, blending, wine tasting, caning, trapping gophers, chasing away deer, or manicuring his croquet lawn, he indulges his taste for fly fishing and golf. Carlton Hill Estate Pinot Noir wines show incredible consistency of structure, complexity and spice from vintage to vintage – which must be why they ea accolades and nods from reviewers and wine award panels from year to year regularly receiving scores in the low-90s.

And yes, sitting on top of Carlton Hill is a croquet court where from time to time local wine makers and friends engage in a battle for supremacy. With some explosives and a backhoe David Polite tued his imagined croquet court into a reality. Croquet, the sport of winemakers! Cruel, evil, devastating, lethal. Croquet anyone?

Our last evening in the Willamette Valley will be at one of the pioneers of the region, Ponzi. Dick and Nancy Ponzi, established Ponzi Vineyards in 1970 in Beaverton, Oregon. They were from Califoia where Dick worked as an engineer for Disneyland creating rides. They traveled to all the wine regions of Europe, but settled on Burgundy for their particular focus. While searching for a place to create their own Pinot Noir heaven, they rejected Califoia as it seemed too warm for Pinot Noir and no one was producing Pinot Noir of note in Califoia at the time. Their search led them to the Willamette Valley making them some of Oregon’s early wine pioneers. The first vintage of Ponzi Pinot Noir was in 1974 finally breaking even in 1984. By 1988, Dick made Robert Parker’s list of World’s Best Winemakers. Their children now run the winery with Luisa serving as winemaker, Anna Maria as President, and Michel as Operations Manager. The Ponzi Pinot Noirs have won critical acclaim through the years. The wines have always been intense, savory, and concentrated.


Oveight The Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg, Willamette Valley


Day Six | Mon 5 October

Departure at 9:00 am for Portland Inteation Airport


30 September to 5 October

e Allison Inn & Spa
2525 Allison Lane
Newberg Oregon 97132

T: 503.554.2525

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