The softly rolling hills visible as you drive toward Oregon’s wine country in the picturesque Willamette Valley are splashed with fertile green swaths of grape vines and edged with the bright oranges, reds and golds of spectacular fall foliage. If autumn is your favorite season, you’re in the right place.
It’s a weekend of wine tasting and touches of luxury courtesy of your home away from home, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Allison Inn & Spa. Less than an hour’s drive from Portland, The Allison is nestled in the heart of wine country with the comfortable but well-appointed rooms boasting views of the countryside and vineyards. Dining at the Inn’s signature Four-Star restaurant, JORY, is an experience unto itself. Seasonally maximized menus offer the best of garden-to-table cuisine featuring flavors native to the Willamette Valley and, of course, excellent wine pairing recommendations. Thoughtful and luxurious features such as fireplaces in every room, original artwork spread throughout the resort and complimentary Lexus sedans for guests to use while in the area truly complete the experience.
While we certainly suggest you take advantage of The Allison’s excellent relationships with surrounding wineries and have the knowledgeable concierge staff plan your wine tasting adventures, we wanted to make sure you knew about three of our favorite vino adventures around the valley.
The Four Graces
With a quaint white picket fence surrounding rows of grape vines and a renovated historical farmhouse that serves as The Four Graces tasting room, you might immediately fall in love with your surroundings — but it’ll be the wine that you remember. Walk outside to sit at one of the picnic benches in the sun while you sip on a glass of the crisp and fruity 2014 The Four Graces Pinot Gris. Later, stroll through the demonstration vineyard while sampling a 2012 The Four Graces North Blocks Pinot Noir and a 2012 The Four Graces South Blocks Pinot Noir, two wines made from grapes grown in vineyards adjacent to one another, but having two very distinct tastes — one is the result of biodynamic farming practices and the other of sustainable farming. The resulting wines give you a true appreciation of the very delicate nature of winemaking.
Stoller Family Estate
Tucked into the bucolic Dundee Hills, just a 10-minute drive from The Four Graces, you arrive at Stoller Family Estate. On 373 acres of land, with approximately 190 acres dedicated to growing vines, the estate features sweeping views, guesthouses, the vineyards, two tasting rooms, and the first LEED Gold Certified winery in the United States, designed by preeminent Oregon architect Ernest Munch. But, oh, the wine. Wine Spectator gave the 2012 Helen’s Pinot Noir 95 points, and for good reason. It’s a bold Pinot with a great nose and a lovely, long finish. You might be surprised to taste a Stoller Tempranillo. Typically found in the warm climates of Spain and Portugal, it’s rare in Oregon wine country. But a perfect, lower elevation section of the Stoller vineyards grew great grapes and the 2012 Tempranillo proves it. The lengthy aging period in oak barrels gives this wine delicious and complex spice notes.
Just in time for autumn wine tasting is the much-anticipated grand opening of Ransom’s first tasting room on November 1, which will be incorporated into Peirano & Daughters Deli in McMinnville. What makes Ransom wines so great is the true “farm-to-bottle” ethos the wine makers are committed to. Vino is produced entirely by hand, without the use of high-tech or automated equipment. They are what you might call “wine artisans.” The 2012 Selection Pinot Noir is one of our favorites; it’s earthy with aromas of black cherry, it has a long finish and a deep garnet color. The new tasting room will feature pairings with complementary appetizers, just like you might find while sipping in Italy or France.