Carl Giavanti, Dan Warnshuis, Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge, Utopia Cellars, white Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
One of the real adventures of my repeated trips to Oregon’s Willamette Valley has been the discovery of new wineries. In many cases, it’s wineries I simply haven’t visited yet – while new ones continue to pop up.
One of the sub-regions I’ve not yet visited is Ribbon Ridge. Ribbon Ridge sets near the middle or eastern-middle of the valley. It’s small in comparison to most of the other areas with only 20 vineyards comprised of about 500-600 acres of vine.
Just like most of the valley’s other regions the Ridge is producing mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with scattered plantings of other grapes.
One of my most recent delightful discoveries has been Utopia Vineyards. Dan Warnshuis founded the winery in 2002 after working many years in California in the tech industry. His wife Kathy and daughter Erin are also involved at the winery.
Dan tends to his dry-farmed vineyards and was certified for sustainable viticulture in 2008.
I was recently sent samples of the Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir and the winery’s White Pinot. The Pinot Noir was one of the best I’ve tasted in 2020. I enjoyed the delicate rose and berry fruit flavors with a real elegant mouth feel and finish. $48 SRP, 91 points Wine Enthusiast.
The unicorn – or white Pinot Noir also scored well with several publications. The winery’s website described it as bursts of fruit with a great mouth feel.
Much of the wine from this small production winery is sold direct to consumer.Utopia is a stop you might want to include during any visit to the Willamette Valley. The family also has a beautiful vacation cabin rental amidst the vines with many perks.