WBC12 Day 2 – Friday – Livin’ the Dream, part II

So where did I leave off? Oh, yeah, about halfway through the speed tasting.

2009 Johan Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay

After Alexana’s delicious Pinot Gris, we got to try the 2009 Johan Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay.

This was a fun wine for me to taste, as I’ve heard a lot about Johan, but never had an opportunity to try them.

On the nose, there was a nice aroma of tropical fruits. The nose carried through the palate where it left you with a nice mango flavor and balanced acidity.

At $32 SRP, again, this is more of a special occasion wine than an everyday sipper…and yes, surviving a work day counts as a special occasion!!

2011 Benton Lane Pinot Gris

Next was Benton Lane Winery 2011 Pinot Gris.

This was a fun wine. Described to us as “racy and vibrant”, it definitely lived up to that! On the nose, there was a lovely honeysuckle and pear note that led into peaches and pears on the palate.

This is a fun, summer wine. And with a $17 SRP, it’s worth it.

2011 Maryhill Rosé of Sangiovese

Alright, if you know me well, you know that Maryhill Winery is one of my top 5 favorite wineries. Ever.

So this was exciting for me…this is their unreleased (at the time…and in checking their website, looks to still be unreleased) 2011 Rosé of Sangiovese.

The Rosé of Sangiovese definitely does not disappoint! There’s sweet strawberries with a hint of tartness on the nose. The palate has this sweet/tart blend of cranberries, cherries, and strawberries.

And for $10? Get a case of this…keep it on hand. Seriously.

2011 Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling Dry

Now we head from the beautiful Pacific Northwest over to Germany. The next wine was the 2011 Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling Dry.

On the nose, there was a very nice, refreshing minerality and orange blossom. That same minerality and orange blossom carried through to the palate and the orange blossom left just a hint of orange zest.

2011 Recuerdo Torrontés

After the Riesling, we came back across the Atlantic, but headed south, to Argentina and the 2011 Recuerdo Wines Torrontés

This wine was FUN. Maybe it was because the lovely ladies who were pouring for us gave us mini bottles to take home. Maybe because it was we had the “Flat Stanley” version of the winemakers. Maybe it was because this wine is very good.

The Winemakers, Flat Stanley Style

Or maybe it was all three. Yeah. I’ll go with that. All three. This is summer in a glass. Bright, fresh lemon zestiness (probably not a word, but meh…) and tart flowers on the nose, a blend of tropical fruits and peaches on the palate. Yeah. Definitely summer in a glass. 🙂

So there ends the craziness known as Live Blogging. After this, we went out to the buses that were waiting to take us to our “mystery dinner” location.

For me, this was intriguing. Would I be going somewhere I’d been before (which was honestly very likely, as I live an hour and change from the heart of Oregon Wine Country)? Would I get to experience some place that was on my to get to list? Or would I get to experience a place that wasn’t even on my radar?

I picked Bus #7, which was renamed “Lucky Bus #7”. Not far into our journey, we were told that we’d be the guests of the North Willamette Vintners and Garden Vineyards.

Honestly, I’d never even heard of Garden Vineyards until I got on the bus. Which is a GOOD thing! I got to go in with no preconceived notions, no favorite wine, nothing. I treated this opportunity as if I’d never even been to Oregon or drank Oregon wine.

I know, I know. Weird. But honestly, when you don’t know where you’re going, ya gotta make your mind up pretty damn quick as to how you’re going to approach it. And for me, the fewer prejudices I have, the better.

Our trip there was an adventure in and of itself. Lots of narrow, windy roads that automatically made our bus driver the most awesome driver on the face of the earth because he handled them FLAWLESSLY (bus driver, if you read this, seriously, you are a rockstar).

Oh, and we got to see cool things like this…

Railroad Trestle on the way to Garden Vineyards

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a railroad trestle. A wooden railroad trestle to be exact. And yes, it does make you feel like you’re two inches tall when you look up at it.

When we arrived at Garden Vineyards, we were greeted warmly by all of the representatives for the wineries that were there…oh, and we were greeted with glasses of wine and lovely appetizers, too.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Nom.
The wine
More wine

So we moved outside to the patio, where there was more wine to be drank, fun times to be had and us finding out about Bus 8 being “Cuffed in Carlton” (check WBC 12 Blog Post Directory for those stories)…oh, and dinner to consume.

On the patio, the group I was talking to was like, “Wait a minute! Our glasses our empty!” So someone in the group went and got us a bottle of this:

Garden Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir

This is a DARK Rosé, but oh so delicious and refreshing on a 100-some-odd degree day.

Garden Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir

After relaxing on the patio, we moved down to where dinner would be served for what I’ll call “Wine School”. We learned about the different soil type, did a blind Pinot tasting (which I sucked at…I’ll be honest!), learned about the different levels of organic certification and learned about the vineyards themselves.

I apologize for not having pictures of the dinner, but I can’t figure out to get them from my phone to my computer. You can view them on my personal twitter stream, though, @vikingcougar.

This dinner was awesome. I got to have elk, which was something I hadn’t had in FOREVER (yeah, hi, this redneck has eaten fancy food…only because all the men in my family are hunters), salmon and a very yummy berry compote.

Special thanks to the following wineries for Friday’s fun in the vineyards:

Garden Vineyards
Elk Cove Vineyards
Apolloni Vineyards
J. Albin Winery
Willamette Valley Vineyards – Tualatin Estate
Montinore Estate

And a very special thank you to Carolyn from the Washington County Visitor’s Association for sharing your stories about Andy Griffith with me! I don’t think I’ll be able to watch Brad Paisley’s “Waitin’ On A Woman” video the same way ever again after what you told me! Andy Griffith was certainly an American treasure and the world is just a little less interesting due to his passing.

After dinner, we relished the last few moments of daylight at the winery and got back on our bus to head back towards the hotel for…yep, you guessed it. MORE WINE! There was the night of many bottles, which I contributed to with two wines grown, produced and bottled right here in my home county, a Pinot Noir from Bethany Vineyards and a Riesling from Three Brothers Vineyard.

There were also multiple parties hosted by wineries, distributors and alliances/associations. Basically, I think you could have partied all night long and not gotten to all of the parties that were going on.

On to Saturday! Stay tuned!

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