Dundee Hills Area Wineries and Restaurants

As a reminder form our previously posted Primer on Willamette Valley AVA and Vintages, the Dundee Hills AVA is generally characterized by red volcanic (Jory) soil which holds heat, resulting in deep, red cherry and plum-based fruit-focused wines with iron-based minerality and spices such as cinnamon, clove and cardamom.

Of the three vintages we tasted: [Read more ...]

Newberg Wineries and Restaurants

As a reminder form our previously posted Primer on Willamette Valley AVA and Vintages, Newberg is generally characterized by brown, loamy, sedimentary (Willakenzie) soil that drains better than volcanic soil, resulting in more intense, earthier, darker fruit flavors, with floral elements and subtle tannins and baking spices. Of the three vintages we tasted:

2011 [Read more ...]

A Primer on Willamette Valley AVA and Vintages

Although we know that we enjoy relatively earthy, less fruit-forward Willamette Valley wines, we did not know enough about the region, not to mention the roughly dozen different AVAs, to understand why, and which wines we were most likely to enjoy. This trip was an attempt to decipher some of what have been to sum [Read more ...]

Cristom Vineyards Pre-IPNC Dinner

When IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) comes to the Willamette Valley each year (see my blog on IPNC), many of the wineries throw a pre-party dinner the night before the big event. Wineries did not have to be participating in IPNC that year to have a dinner (many wineries alternate years in which they participate [Read more ...]

We Came for the Wine and Left with an Experience

International Pinot Noir Celebration or IPNC. It’s the wine that first gets your attention and lures you in.  And why not? 70 Pinot Noir producers from all over the world, descending on McMinnville Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. What pinot noir lover could resist that call? We had heard about it [Read more ...]

The Best of Napa

We came, we tasted, we once again surrendered to the wines, the foods and the experiences of Napa Valley.  We provided blow-by-blow (o at least winery-by-winery and restaurant-by-restaurant descriptions of many of our favorite tops from our two week stay in Napa. Following are our three favorites in each of four categories:

Napa Wines; Napa [Read more ...]

Ashland Oregon’s–Amuse Restaurant

As with our previous drive to Portland, we divided our drive into two days be spending the night in Ashland. Although we decided against spending the evening at the Shakespeare Festival (Richard III and The Coaconuts), we did do dinner.

After exploring our options, we chose Amuse. A good decision. We split one appetizer, [Read more ...]

Napa Art and Music

Given all the focus on the valley’s incredible wineries and restaurants, one can be excused for not viewing it as a venue for seeing fine art. It is, however, more than worth searching out some of the valley’s often hidden artistic venues. Although we always try to visit a number of Yountville and St. Helena [Read more ...]

Upper Valley Restaurants—St. Helena to Calistoga

This trip saw a return to two of our oft-visited area restaurants, CIA and Solbar, one big disappointment and discovery of Archetype, another new (at least for us) valley favorite.

Archetype (St. Helena). What took us so long to discover this two-year old restaurant? We shared two dishes: peanut-crusted soft shell crab with hearts of [Read more ...]

Yountville and Rutherford Restaurants

Despite the incredible growth in Napa restaurants, Yountville remains  restaurant central for the Napa Valley. This being said, we did have to make one lunch stop at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford. 

Ciccio (Yountville). Another new hit in this restaurant-obsessed town. The four of us began by splitting a crispy cherry tomato and pancetta [Read more ...]