A couple of weeks ago I ended up winning a pair of tickets to Encompass from Portland Monthly Magazine. I rarely win anything so I was pretty stoked, especially since the event was literally a ten minute drive from my house.
Encompass is weekend wine event held over Labor Day weekend that's designed to bring awareness to the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Twenty two participating wineries in the area opened up their doors to welcome visitors for the event. Participants purchased guide books that included maps and winery information and in return each winery gave complimentary wine tastings
We had our friend's wedding to attend on Saturday, so we were only able to sneak out of the house for two hours Sunday afternoon to go tasting. We ended up stopping at one of Argyle Winery's vineyards names the Lone Star vineyard. Argyle has a nice tasting room in Dundee, but had staff directly out in the vineyard pouring their three Rieslings - Argyle Riesling, Nuthouse Riesling, and Minus Five Riesling as well as their Nuthouse Pinot Noir. I'm a huge fan of Riesling so it was nice to get to sample such a nice variety, and both Wayne and I absolutely loved their Nuthouse Pinot Noir. We ended up purchasing a bottle of their Nuthouse Riesling...which I may or may not be drinking as I type. :)
We looked around and really took in the view up there. It still amazes me how beautiful and serene life can be only a few miles out of town. For those of you who don't know, my husband is a vineyard manager and has worked in the the industry pretty much since the beginning here in Oregon. I though knew absolutely nothing about wine prior to meeting him, so I'm definitely what I would call still a beginning wine connoisseur, but I'm thoroughly enjoying learning more. Wayne took me around the plants and showed me how you can tell that they were Chardonnay grapes by how the veins on the leaf were.
Afterwards we drove over to Redhawk Vineyard and Winery which is just outside of West Salem. There we had the opportunity to sample a flight of nine of their wines, from their Riesling, Pinot Gris, several Pinot Noirs, a Merlot, and even an Italian wine that I haven't tried before, their 2012 Nebbiolo. I think my favorite was their 2012 Pinot Noir Pataccoli Family Vineyard. The wine is produced from vines over 30 years old and it has a description of "cinnamon and spice on the nose and a cranberry, raspberry core."
There were also some hors d'oeurves to sample so Wayne and I took a seat and enjoyed the gorgeous view. The Eola Amity Hills are so amazing because on a clear day you can see all four of our local mountains - Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Jefferson. While we were sitting there two women came up and sat in front of us and I just could help but snap some photos of their gorgeous silhouettes in front of the sky. I only wished I would have brought along my camera so the photo quality was better.
Sometimes even getting a break for two hours really helps refuel me for the rest of the week. I feel so blessed to live in a valley that's so pretty. I love the rolling hills, vineyards, farms and fruit stands. I love that we are an hour from the beach, an hour and a half from the snow (Mt. Hood) and I only live 30 miles from Portland, yet live in a small town in the country. Yup, I'm pretty lucky to live in the Willamette Valley.