Raise your hand (or glass) if you miss traveling to wine country! As a freelance travel, food, and wine writer, I've been fortunate to visit some beautiful wineries in my day. Right now? Let's just say my "scenic" views are more my dogs laying on the couch or pretending my patio is in Napa.
Since I'm safe at home in Los Angeles, I've been traveling through what I'm pouring from my PortoVino. These past few weeks? My purse has been taking me to Willamette Valley, Oregon.
A flourishing wine region just 50 miles outside of Portland, Willamette Valley is the home of Pinot Noir. With over 16,000 acres in the valley growing Pinot Noir varietals, it's safe to say this grape thrives in Oregon's climate. If you share my love of Pinot Noir, read on for some favorites from Willamette Valley you can order online to sip and savor from your PortoVino or in your glass.
(A bright and welcoming array of vinos at Antiquum. © Mary Farah)
At Antiquum Farms, they're obsessed with growing the best wines possible. They even say so on their website! While you can't go wrong with any of Antiquum's varietals, the 2018 Juel is an incredibly special Pinot Noir for the Pinot connoisseur.
Retailing at forty dollars, their 2018 Juel offers a unique surprise of natural acidity despite the well-rounded notes of deep fruits. During this time of "pause," I recommend enjoying a glass of Juel as you reach for that book sitting in your PortoVino you've been meaning to read.
(© Willamette Valley Vineyards)
I don't know about you, but I love a fruity red slightly chilled on a warm evening. Whether you're also a "pro" at this hack, or are curious to give it a swirl, Willamette Valley Vineyards offers the ideal "Summer Pinot," with their 2019 Whole Cluster Pinot.
With notes of berries and dark fruits on the first sip, having it a bit cooled will reveal its subtle mocha notes. At just twenty-four dollars, Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster is a great choice to enjoy out of your PortoVino while you BBQ or enjoy a picnic at the park or at home.
(Just a small peek at the view at Zenith Vineyard. © Mary Farah)
With ninety points ranking from Wine Spectator, Zenith Vineyard is one of the most elegant vineyards in Willamette Valley. With a stunning event and reception hall on their estate in Salem, Oregon, bring the festivities to your PortoVino when you order any of their wines from their website. My pick? The 2014 Pinot Noir, of course.
In its early days, the bottle offered tart and tangy notes. As it has matured, these notes linger while the presence of dark fruit shines in your glass, and "pops" on your taste buds. Pour this from your bag as you enjoy some music from your earbuds, or watch a movie with a special meal.
(A beautiful day at Illahe Vineyards. © Mary Farah)
For those who like the earthy taste to Pinot Noir, Illahe Vineyards 2018 should be in your PortoVino. The initial aroma to capture you are berries yet as that expands you'll taste tobacco and lots of earth.
As a terrific value wine despite its broad range as a Pinot Noir, consider ordering a few bottles of this 2018 Illahe beauty to keep on hand for when we can explore more once again. It's recommended to save and open in six to 12 years. You can plan plenty of adventures with it in your PortoVino!
(Tasting Room © Left Coast Estate)
Are you thinking what I think you're thinking? While they do exist, it's not all that common to find a white Pinot Noir. I've encountered a few in my wine enjoying days and not surprisingly, Willamette Valley is the place to enjoy white Pinot.
Offering a mild, light palette, Left Coast Cellars' 2018 White Pinot Noir gives hints of elderflower and sweet notes of honeydew. If you're fortunate to be toting your PortoVino by the pool or beach, this is the wine to be having.
Now if you are wondering which PortoVino is the right one to pour from, check out this blog
Which wine will you try in your bag?
Mary is a freelance travel, food and wine journalist based in Los Angeles. She’s managed her website, Along Comes Mary, since 2012 with an emphasis on gluten-free travel. She proudly serves on the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) Board of Directors and is on the Food, Wine, Travel Magazine Editorial Committee.
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