Thursday, October 8, 2015
This past weekend I truly embraced Sunday-Funday and went wine tasting in Dundee, OR. The day started with mimosas in the limo, catching up, and a healthy dose of pop music. From there we visited Hyland Estates, Dobbes Estate, and the new Argyle tasting room.
All of the elements made for a top-notch day! The weather? It was sunny, warm and with a slight breeze. The wines were lush and bright (or so they told me!). And the company?? The company was giddy, thoughtful, and full of tone death show tunes. We also packed quite the gourmet spread, loaded with delicious sandwiches, spreads, and goodies from Olympia Provisions.
Now for the wineries and a plethora of photos....
At Brunch Village some dreamy South African man was walking around, pouring wine, and handing out 'Members for a Day' passes. The passes allowed for our entire group to forego the tasting fee and get 20% off any purchases. If you have this pass USE IT!!
We tasted a few whites, and quite a few pinot noirs. It was really interesting to try several vintages back-to-back in chronological order. It is amazing how different environmental variables can impact the wine. This is the part where I would give you a really scientific explanation of that statement, but then you would have to fact check me and would learn I just don't know enough to be making bold statements.
And this is where they rolled out the red carpet. Through a silent auction, Erin had won a fancy-schmancy tasting and tour at Dobbes. And fancy, it was!
Our guide, Paxton, welcomed the group with a big smile, and quickly synced up with our chatty and boisterous group. When visiting wine country - or any space that has an high-end product - the team is usually the key element that will get you hooked, or completely turn you off from the craft. Think art galleries, artisan creameries, anything with gastronomy!
Have you seen the movie Somm? Things can get snobby.
The Dobbes team was so friendly, and clearly so passionate about what they do. They really embraced the 'family' element of their name.
At the beginning of our tour we quickly spotted Derek Shedd, the enologist for Wine by Joe, and shortly thereafter we (me) deemed us Dobby's Army. One of the ladies in our group is undertaking a really awesome cider project, and Derek gave her so much wonderful and passionate insight. He shared tremendous insight, talked about books and lit up with excitement. It was truly a pleasure to be part of this conversation.
After a lovely chat, and trying to invite him to my next dinner party, we were able to see just how wine gets made. Again, this could have been a really technical and alienating step, but every question was welcome! I really loved seeing the wine being pressed. Not quite 'I Love Lucy' style, but still pretty awesome.
The last stop of the day was at Argyle's new tasting house. One of the most established Oregon labels, Argyle is currently going through some very savvy rebranding, and transitioning to a new label design.
The new space is stunning, the wine was great and we had a lovely time snacking outside on picnic benches. But the experience felt incredibly corporate. We were in, and we were out. The story and details about the tasting flight felt very scripted, and the level of service we experienced earlier in the day wasn't there. It was good, but it wasn't great.
Would I go back to grab a trusted bottle to share with a friend in a lovely space? Yes! Would I return to learn about wines, or inside knowledge that isn't on the Argyle website? No, I would not.
And be sure to return on Monday to learn all about our amazing limo ride!!!