Friday, November 2, 2007

Thanksgiving Wine Trip Planning

This week I decided to plan out our Thanksgiving wine tasting. The advantage to tasting the weekend after Thanksgiving (instead of shopping) is that many places that are not usually open to the public open their doors and you get a chance to taste some wine you normally would not have access to. That is, unless you just buy a bottle and take a chance on a wine you don't know much about besides reputation. The problem I ran into is that there are entirely too many places we want to go to, and not enough time to do it. We only have Friday and Saturday to taste, as Sunday we have family obligations. The other restriction is the times that places are open. The window of opportunity for each day is about 10am - 5pm, which really does not leave much time for tasting, especially when there are about 15 places we want to go. This does not include the places we are club members at, which would mean free tasting and other events at those places.

So the process of elimination came down to figuring out where we wanted to go, and figuring out which places are either the most bang for the stop, or are only open during this weekend. All of the places we chose are only open for this weekend, and many of them have pretty steep tasting fees. I'm not sure how I feel about that, and I'm planning on a blog post about tasting fees for the near future, but I digress. The following is the list of where we are planning to go to:


Owen Roe - $15 tasting fee, with a Riedel Bordeaux glass. Owen Roe has quite a few wines we are fans of, and being able to taste them at one location will be reallly nice. The other times we have had them, is just a bottle at a time, so exploring more of the portfolio will be nice.

Chehalem - $10 tasting fee. Chehalem Wines was founded by Harry Peterson-Nedry in 1990, but he planted is vineyard in Ribbon Ridge in 1980. He is one of the more influential people in Oregon winemaking, and so it almost seems like a necessity to taste his wines.

JK Carriere - $10 tasting fee, refundable w/purchase. This stop was requested by Sirpa, and looking at their list of wines, I can see why. I see they have a Anderson Family and a Shea Pinot Noir, so they've got to have some good stuff. Shea just doesn't sell his grapes to anybody (see below).

Lachini - $10 tasting fee. Lachini Vineyards was founded in 1997, and is getting great acclaim for their wines. They have a couple Pinot Noirs, and Pinot Gris, and their wines are very well made.

Elvenglade - Not sure of tasting fees. We've got some Pinot Noir futures to pick up, and that is the main reason we are stopping here. That, and they've got some pretty good wines, from a couple different winemakers.

Patricia Green - $20 tasting fee, partially refundable w/ purchase. Patty Green is another well respected winemaker, so visiting her is a must.

Shea - $10 tasting fee. Dick Shea might be the owner of the most respected vineyard in the Willamette Valley. According to Wine Press NW, Shea Vineyards is the #1 Vineyard in Oregon. Any Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir can expect 90+ points from any critic, and so trying his stuff directly will be a treat.

Anam Cara - $10 tasting fee, for all participating wineries. Anam Cara is made at 12th and Maple Wine Co., and a total of 4 labels will be represented there. Access to all of them will be through the one tasting fee, which results in the most bang for the buck. We have tasted their wine before, and was pleasantly suprised. Also there will be Battle Creek, Basket Case, and Cleo's Hill.

So I think this is our list. There's many more we'd like to get to, but that will have to wait until Memorial Day weekend. I'll put up a stop-by-stop review of the weekend, so let me know if there's anything you'd like to see discussed.


Allison said...

I will down that weekend as well. Would you say $10 is going to be the standard tasting fee for all the wineries that are not typically open to the public?

John P said...

From what I can tell, $10 is what all but one or two of the places we are going to are charging. I think that is a acceptable amount, assuming that there are 4-5 tastes at each place.