Talking Oregon wine with Winderlea owner Bill Sweat

The quality of Oregon wine blows me away on each visit. That’s not shocking news to anyone who’s been here before. But as the number as the number of Willamette Valley wineries grows toward 600 even the newbies are knocking out dynamic and delicious Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris.

This visit was arranged rather quickly with a friend and we kicked off with old friends Bill Sweat and Donna Morris at Winderlea Vineyards. We talked a good half hour about Chardonnay, style of Chardonnay and what’s new at the winery. Bill shared that Winderlea will join the growing list of wineries make a Sparkline wine or Brut next year.

Growers in the valley are two or three years into the boom of adding Rose’ of Pinot Noir to their winelists and it certainly appears bubbles will be next.

Winderlea produces vineyard designate wines as good, or better, as any you’ll find in the valley. The chardonnay is perfectly balanced with a hint of oak and perhaps the best you discover on any domestic wine trip.

Our next stop was the iconic Domaine Drouhin. The French outpost in Oregon delivers really great wine, a fantastic vineyard view and even an occasional taste of Burgundy. The iconic wooden roofed winery offers up elegant and stylish Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The entry level is $45 at the winery in Dundee Hills but the new Roserock property and label over wines with a slightly different flavor profile and slightly different taste.

Third stop was a recommendation from the Winderlea folks. We traveled to just the western part of the valley to Fairsing Vineyard high atop a hill just north of Yamhill and Carlton. The views were spectacular. The wines were spot on with a light Rose, lighter style chardonnay and rich Pinot. The 750 ft of elevation definitely provide characteristics of a cooler climate Chardonnay.

We capped off the night meeting a couple of younger friends for dinner. I had met the young couple working my part-time wine shop job in Broad Ripple. I’ve visited Carlton many times but never eaten at its longtime lilee French Restaurant, Cuvee.

The slightly electic spot was really dealicious. Baked mussels and a wonderful sauce with gruyere cheese was spot on. The fresh salmon with roasted vegetables balanced the meal.

Another day of wine tasting today (Friday) and a venture into McMinnville this evening. Tomorrow, it’s off to the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood.

Note: I’m using a new smaller mobile laptop and some things have changed for me in my blogging platform. I was a real struggle including one photo. I have more to add when I conquer that issue or get back home. I”m posting to social media as well.