Last weekend my boyfriend and I headed out to the wine country of Oregon. It was his birthday, and we wanted to have a weekend getaway. We were amazed at how many wineries there were within 60 miles of Portland in the Willamette Valley Region. All we had to do was drive down 99 South and we found the winery signs everywhere, especially around McMinnville.
Saturday night we stayed at Harrison House, http://www.corvallis-lodging.com/ , a bed and breakfast in Corvallis. From the common areas stocked with complimentary red and white wine to the cute little cottage overlooking the herb garden that we were able to stay in, it was all very nice and comfortable. The breakfast was very, very, very good. Did I mention the breakfast was good?
We celebrated my boyfriend's birthday Saturday night with a meal at Aqua's http://www.aquacorvallis.com/Aqua%20Seafood%20Corvallis.html in Corvallis. We both thought we had died and gone to seafood heaven. If you ever find yourself heading though Corvallis and looking for a nice seafood restaurant, then this place is a must.
We toured four vineyards during our quest for wine. They are listed below:
Left Coast Cellars, http://www.leftcoastcellars.com/
All of them were very educational because they really took the time to tell us about the different types of wines and how wine is made. Tyee was particularly wonderful because they let us walk in the vineyard. There is something very special and almost biblical about walking among the old grapevines heavy with grapes. Tyee also had a plate of grapes that they let us sample, and then they used those grapes to educate us about the wines we were about to taste.
During our journey, I saw a sign that said Brigittine Monastery http://www.brigittine.org/ this way. So we went that way and found a wonderful, out of the way monastery where they sell incredible fudge. They gave us samples of all of the varieties. We particularly liked the pecan praline fudge royale and had to buy a box of it to take home. Their prices were very good, and you can buy their confectionaries on the web. Oh those high tech monks think of everything.
Finally, we stopped in McMinnville at the Bistro Maison http://www.bistromaison.com/ OMG. Yep, that just about covers the incredible experience of eating at Bistro Maison. The food was awsome, but the dessert was beyond words. What that chef does with dessert is just short of a miracle.
Whew! We had a full and fun packed weekend. Here are some of the things that I learned:
1. I love Pinot Gris and Riesling wines. My fondness for Pinot Noir depends on how much of the oak barrel taste is actually in the wine.
2. I tend to go for the white wines because they are a little sweeter.
3. The color of wine depends on the length of time the grape is in the skin between the picking and the actually pressing of the juice.
4. It is definitely ok to use those cans at the counter to toss in the wine. If you are the driver and heading to several vineyards, you will need to just take a swallow and dump the rest into the can.
5. Sometimes the best moments are the ones that are unplanned.