Our friend was up from California for a visit this past week. We had an absolutely insane yet successful day at the NW Book Festival on Saturday and decided to take Sunday to decompress, de-stress and chill. My mind spun and whirled, what would be the best way to accomplish said decompression??? Ah HA, I exclaimed loudly enough to startle Rora’s little rat dog. Wine tasting. Wine always makes everything better.
After a leisurely breakfast created by yours truly, we dressed piled into the car leaving little rat dog at home to be tormented by our two cats, one of which was as big as the dog…and just as skittish, and over the hill we went to the Yamhill County Wine county.
We stopped at a little winery just off of the 219 called Raptor Ridge. It’s a cozy, open space with wonderful relaxing jazz music playing in the background. On the walls they have a mix of all the different AVA maps of the area. The big windows give a marvelous view of their vineyard. Being that it was a beautiful day, not too warm, not to cool. Puffy clouds floated by in the blue sunny sky above, we decided to camp ourselves out on the patio.
So named due to the numerous birds of prey (raptors) that are prevalent in the area, Raptor Ridge’s logo is a feather of one of these marvelous animals. I will mention here that while we were enjoying ourselves we saw more than one of these beautiful birds circling the forest beyond the vineyard looking for a mid-day snack. The vineyards themselves were full and green with bunches of grapes growing happily in the noonday sun.
We told the young lady behind the bar that my darling and I had been here before and enjoyed their wine and so decided to bring our dear friend. I also mentioned that I write a food blog and wanted to give them a well-earned review. She sat us down and brought out the first of todays tasting selection. A 2015 Grüner Veltliner. This white wine is bone dry. The grapes coming from a one and a half acre area of the their own vineyard. The color was clear and bright and on the nose, I detected pair and green apple with hints of daisy’s and melon. On the palate, were the intense flavors of green apple, green grapes, lime with a slight pepper note on the back end. The dryness of this wine would make it perfect with a spicy Asian dish.
Jonathan Ziemba, Raptor Ridges Hospitality and Direct Sales Manager came out to chat with us about the winery the AVA and serve the next set of wines. Jonathan is a very knowledgeable resource and is passionate about RR’s wines. Our next pouring was of a 2015 Pinot Gris. This was a blend of grapes from five different vineyards and is only slightly sweeter than the Grüner Veltliner. This white wine’s color was clear and a bit deeper/warmer than the previous wine. One the nose was the distinct scent of white roses with honeysuckle hanging on the edges. On the palate, this wine was bright and flavorful with notes of Mango and other tropical with distinctive hints of yellow grapefruit on the back end.
Our next flavorful wine was a 2013 Shea Pinot Noir. This particular wine was a favorite with Wine Enthusiast, scoring a 91. The harvesting of the grapes in late September was timed perfectly, being achieved right as the vineyard received 6 inches of rain in three days. The wine carries a lovely red color and notes of candied cherries, currents and flowers on the nose. On the palate, it definitely reminded me of the cherry parfaits I was blessed with at my grandmother’s house during the summer. With notes of vanilla, and hints of cooking spices on the back end that bring out the tannins, this wine has a beautiful complexity. I believe it would go quite lovely with some nice dark chocolate truffles.