Where do you find some amazing wines produced from the poorest soil out there? Lenné Estate. Located outside of Yamhill, Oregon, you’ll find their Pinot Noir to have a beautiful and distinct mocha aroma and silky texture.
Ghost Hill Cellars Wine Tasting #WineWednesday
Ghost Hill Cellars in Carlton, Oregon has a story to tell – And it’s not just about ghosts. This is a story of family, farming and Pinot Noir.
First thing’s first – Why the name? Is there really a ghost? Yep! Legend has it that during Oregon’s gold rush in the late 1800s, a miner travelling to Portland camped for the night at the top of what is now known as Ghost Hill. During his sleep, someone invaded the camp, killed the miner and horse, and ran off with his stash of gold. It’s said that that miner can still be seen to this day, wandering the hill, searching for his stolen gold. Spooky, right? I don’t think I want to be around once the sun goes down…
When the sun goes down I want to be enjoying a bottle of Ghost Hill Cellar’s Pinot Noir Blanc and watching an episode of the Real Housewives.
Pinot Noir is what Ghost Hill Cellars does. Their wines are produced from 100 percent estate grown fruit and their 1,000 case a year portfolio includes a Pinot Noir Rosé, Pinot Noir Blanc, a Pinot Noir labeled with the Bayliss-Bower single-vineyard designation, and a Prospector’s Reserve Pinot Noir.
Ghost Hill Cellars is truly a family affair. Mike Bayliss is a fourth-generation farmer of this land in the Northern Willamette Valley. He and his wife, Drenda, live in the same farmhouse he grew up in, which is located onsite, just next to the recently opened small tasting room which was hand built by Mike and his son, Michael. It features a sliding barn door and reclaimed windows from the nearby Trappist Abbey Church.
Drenda and Mike have been married since 1967, and have been through a lot together. As a farming family, there have been tough times, and times when they were not sure if they would be able to maintain the farm that has been in the Bayliss family for 100+ years. It was Drenda’s idea to plant a vineyard, sell the grapes, and in time, make wine.
Youngberg Hill Wine Tasting #WineWednesday
Youngberg Hill Vineyard believes in producing unmanipulated wines – allowing the true nature of the vintage to shine through. Visit them in McMinnville, Oregon for a tasting of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. #WineWednesday
Last month I got an itch to go set out and explore some wineries that I’d not yet been to before here in the Willamette Valley. So I rounded up the girlfriends, we hopped in the car, and made the drive from Portland to McMinnville, Oregon. We had four stops on our agenda that day, the first was Youngberg Hill.
Located amongst the hills, Youngberg Hill definitely makes an impression as you drive up to the tasting room. The views are sweeping and the outdoor space is expansive. My friend Deann said she had actually been here before, to photograph a wedding – I can see why this would make such an amazing venue.
My favorite way to enter a winery is to be greeted by the wine dog – This ‘lil guy definitely takes his job seriously.
We were lucky enough to meet with owner Nicolette Bailey, who took us on a tour of the premises. I had no idea that there was a bed and breakfast onsite. The rooms? Not your typically brass bed, with creaky floors, and flower printed curtains type of spot. These rooms are amazing. The view – You get to overlook the vineyard and the cattle grazing outside. The bed? The headboard is of recycled slats from used wine barrels. And the kicker? There is an oversized soaking tub with a glass fireplace at the foot of it. Can I just soak there all day?
But today we’re not here for soaking (even though it’s pouring outside).
Nicolette also gave us a sneak peek at their new 3,600 square-foot indoor/outdoor event center. Overlooking the wooded valley and the vines, this new space takes full advantage of their beautiful location, allowing them to host events, weddings, and musical performances year-long. They officially unveiled the space over Memorial Day weekend. I can’t wait to go back and check it out now that it’s fully completed.
Let’s talk wine. Winemaker Wayne Bailey (and Nicolette’s husband) let us through a beautiful flight of his premium Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Produced from the estate vineyards that surround the inn, they are some of the oldest vines planted in the McMinnville area.
Wayne describes his winemaking style as “unmanipulating.” With a desire to work with the grapes and the seasons, he understands that each vintage will grow and develop differently – Like children. He is just there to nouture them. Fittingly so – Each of his Pinot Noirs are named after his three daughters – Natasha, Jordan and Aspen. The youngest, Aspen, was at the vineyards with us that day. Roaming the grounds, playing on the tractor, and being the best mini-hostess out there. She gently stated that her favorite wine was the Aspen, adding “But not just because it’s named after me.” – We had to agree.
Stoller Winery Visit // Dayton, Oregon
Wine tasting at Stoller Family Estate in Dayton, Oregon. Stoller Winery offers amazing views of the Willamette Valley with your wine tasting.
Lange Estate Winery // Wine Tasting
Lange Estate is located high in the Dundee Hills with an amazing view of Mount Hood on a clear day. It’s one of my favorite spots to have a picnic and enjoy the views in wine country.
Dobbes Family Estate // Wine Tasting
An afternoon of wine tasting at Dobbes Family Estate in Dundee, Oregon. Dobbes Winery produces amazing Syrah, big Pinot Noirs, and an excellent Grenache Blanc.