This continues the highlights from my first pinot noir journey into the northern Willamette Valley. Located about 25 miles south and west of Portland, you wend your way up the low hills, covered by vineyards, fir trees and white oak.
The previous entry didn’t include the Newberg town art walk that Friday night, with wine tasting featured in a few shops along main street. Families strolled past the few lady gangs who were making a ‘night of it’. Pursuing both tastes of wine as well as jewelry, we balanced warm glasses of rose’ while posing with necklaces and earrings.
Okay, we could have tried harder to buy some art but the warm rose’ was unforgivable and we were determined to find something more to our liking. It wasn’t long before we found the nearest actual tasting room to get wine served the way it is meant to be.
Artisnal Wine Cellars Tasting Room
614 E 1st Street, Newberg, OR 97132
Hours: Thursday-Friday 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday/Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
This was a happy stop, busy with customers and such a deal, $5 tasting fee for the Art Walk Event. We enjoyed tasting through the chilled whites – the Dovetail White, Viognier, and their Pinot Blanc, so nice after a 90 degree day out. But here I found my first really triumphant taste of what pinot noir I feel I could enjoy, and that would be their 2010 Dukes Family Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills. I don’t claim to know nothin’ ’bout pinot noir, but I know what I like and I staked a claim in this 2010 vintage. Velvety, balanced, lingering finish, just the perfect weight for enjoying in this end of summer evening. This seems to be a promising start for what we might be enjoying in the next day’s tastings.
While I and my friend traded the merits of what was in our glass, a friendly fellow perched to our left engaged us in conversation and we soon found he was actually Sajanee, the owner of Archer Vineyards. He happened to be tasting these wines while his were being poured around the corner in an actual Art Shop. Before we knew it, we were popping down the street on his insistence to ‘come, taste my wines’. Don’t tell me twice.
An hour later, sipping on some beer, always a good finish to a day of wine tasting, we heard Sajanee’s very interesting life story. How as an East Indian boy, growing up in Mombasa, he still claims his native language is Swahili. He earned a free pass for an educational scholarship to attend college in London studying architecture. How he became a vineyard owner and winemaker in Oregon deserves it’s own blog post which I will have to plan for the future. For now, I can say he is a generous spirit, engaged in offering educational opportunities to children of lesser means, and we enjoyed his liberal views in his politics as much as we enjoyed his liberal wine pours. With a promise to end the next day in his tasting room if we could, we headed off to dinner calling it a very satisfying night indeed. (Note: Sad but we did not make it to his winery but don’t worry Saj, I shall get there yet!)
32230 NE Old Parrett Mtn Rd
Newberg, OR 97132
Well it looks like this is going into part 3, the really Exciting part and I hope you’ll join me as we pick up our Wine Bar owner (previously noted as “Mr X ” in an earlier post) who joined us by train from Seattle on Saturday morning. It is through him that the pinot noir bells went off in my head and I am glad to say I am enchanted. Stay tuned!