Pinot Noir is my favorite grape varietal. I can get all wine snob on you and list all the reasons why but this isn’t that kind of blog. Some purists will only drink a certain vintage in an old school winery from Burgundy but I’m a new school kind of gal and I love pinots from Oregon. The Willamette Valley has been on my list of places to visit for a couple of years now. Probably since I graduated from box-o-wine and became a sophisticated adult.
My friends and I stayed at the beautifully designed Atticus Hotel in McMinnville. McMinnville is the epicenter of the Willamette Valley so it made for the perfect home base. As a New Yorker, I still don’t understand how people can drive and go wine tasting but I digress…The founders of the Atticus Hotel are from McMinnville and take great pride in its history and support local artisans. Every book, artwork, and a glass of bubbly is intentional and thought out.
We went wine tasting at 2 wineries because they were recommended to me by fellow winos. Lingua Franca and Stoller Family Estate. I loved my experience at these wineries because they each took the time to explain the history of the winery, the people who work there, how they make the wine so that when you taste the wine, it has a deeper meaning. Not to mention, these were some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted.
We also went to two tasting rooms: Elizabeth Cellars which I ended up buying a case of wine. Note to self, don’t show up to a winery on an empty stomach, get a little buzzed and then charge $600 on a case of pinots – oops.
I don’t want to compare and contrast different wine regions in the USA because they are all so different and special in their own way BUT compared to the more popular regions like Napa and Sonoma, The Willamette Valley is so much more low key. By low key, I mean they are not as crowded and the general vibe is just more chill. Also, if you’re a pinot noir fan like me, they are SO DELICIOUS HERE!
One thing I continuingly heard throughout my time in Oregon was Oregonian. I couldn’t find a real definition but I believe it’s the general sentiment of the people from Oregon being pioneers and craftsmen/craftswomen of their trade. This is probably why there are so many craft breweries, specialty donut shops, wineries and coffee shops. Everyone takes what they do very seriously but not in an overly controlling OCD way but in a flowy let’s see what happens kind of way.
Most of the people I met during my trip had such a deep sense of pride in the land and the people. It didn’t seem like they cared very much that their young wine region is the underdog to the old world French counterpart. Old world means old rules and the Oregonians are just looking to the future.
The Atticus Hotel had glasses of bubble upon our arrival
Drinks in the lobby
A quick spin around the block
Dinner at Thistle in McMinnville
Relaxing bath time after a difficult day of wine tasting
Coffee with my best friend
Enjoying the living room
Lunch at Bless Your Heart Burgers at the Atticus Hotel
My favorites were the hush puppies and the Bless Your Heart Salad
Lingua Franca Tasting Tent
How amazing is this place?
That oak tree