We were not up at the crack of dawn. We were however up and out the door at an hour that was too early for Michael's boyfriend Brian or friend Carmel to join us. And really, they live there, so I can see their point. Why is it that wine tasting rooms open at 10 (freakin'!!) a.m. and close, mostly, at 5pm? Them don't seem like normal drinking hours to me. And I'm a seasoned pro.
Nonetheless, after a lovely room service breakfast, we met Michael in the lobby and we were off in our trusty white wine-mobile. Headed to the Willamette valley, which, yes, is pronounced to sound like Damnit, not William's diminutive (much as Chris tried, he continued to say William-ette all day....causing several cheerful folks to respond with the helpful "It's Will-a-mette. Damnit." For the record, Chris also can't say "query"--he says "quarry" instead. Other then that though, he's perfect. Which is why I share those two things.)
|Chris on left, Michael on right; box of heaven above|
We moved on to Winderlea Vineyards and a truly spectacular tasting room (also, the beginning of our "let's find the best tasting room bathroom" game! It was also the end...it was awesome and unbeatable. Think fancy hotel bathroom. Sorry, I did not photograph it. I don't actually take my camera to the bathroom with me, which I now see as a character defect.) But look at this place!You just know they have a fabulous bathroom. (And this is coming from a woman who spends a lot of Sunday in the kitchen and bath showrooms of Standards of Excellence where Chris does his Sunday Night Chef Fights.)
They are known for their Pinot Noir (which is not a Forgotten Grape, Chris's specialty, but tasty nonetheless). We tasted five wines and preferred the '07 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir. And this view:
We couldn't help but venture across the street from Winderlea to this clever looking winery called Barrel Fence Cellars. You can see where the name came from, no?
Does this help? See? The fence has barrels in it? Oh and a giant corkscrew sticking out of
You'll be happy to know we had lunch next.
I was happy to know there was such a thing as a hot dog, wrapped in bacon, snuggled in a fresh bun with a slab of blue cheese, served with potato salad and baked beans on the menu at the Horse Radish Wine & Cheese bar and cafe in Carlton.