I’m planning a trip to NE Oregon for Labor Day. We’re doing a couple of days of hiking etc. in the gorge and have 2 days for Portland. I was thinking of doing a day trip out to Dundee for some wine tastings, so wanted to ask if (a) this was a feasible and recommendable day trip and (b) what some good places to go might be. We’re actually not huge fans of pinot noir, but are hoping to learn more about it and see if there are some wineries there we’d like. If relevant, we’ve done several tastings in Europe (Piedmont, Ribera del Duero, a few in France) and typically like more full-bodied wines.
I have been on a day trip to Domaine Serene, Torii Mor and Archery Summit, as well as Red Ridge Farms (olive oil) (all near Dundee), while staying out on the Coast. Like you, not a huge pinot noir fan but certainly found wines I enjoyed and generally had a great time - the scenery is pretty gorgeous! I did not make any of the arrangements, my hosts did, so don’t know whether you need to make reservations. If you are strictly out to try wine there are a ton of tasting rooms all bunched together in McMinnville – I found visiting the wineries more fun but to each his/her own!
Thanks for the intel! Will look into some of these. I’d also prefer visiting the wineries themselves
This is off topic but I hope you are aware that many (really most) of the popular hikes in the gorge are closed due to last years fires. It is also really smoky right now (I can barely see the other side of the gorge) which hopefully will get better in a few days but I would not hike in it as it is now.
Thanks for the tip. It is a shame about the Eagle Creek fires, but we’re hoping to get off the beaten path anyway. What is visibility like now?
Lots of wine in the Gorge and points East.
It is beautiful. We got some rain a few days ago which helped and weather patterns in the whole region have vastly improved the smoke situation. looks like it might drizzle today. The last few days were so nice I was inspired enough to take a drive out to Hood River Valley for lunch yesterday. Great day! I hope it stays this way for your trip. If you decide to do some wine tasting in the gorge and like bbq Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale was pretty good especially considering what is available in the area. Really nice people too. In case you have not come across this site, the friends has a good listing of hikes with current closures noted.
Thanks for all the intel – we probably will check out Apple Valley BBQ! If you have any other food recommendations in the area, those would be much appreciated too
Keep in mind that my expectations for the BBQ was low. There are not many restaurants in the area, I was just happy that the place made actual BBQ (not some Sysco crap) and does not smother their pulled pork with sweet sticky sauce. I have been hearing about the place for a few years now and was happily surprised at how good it was. We were actually heading to the hardware store next door but the smell lured us in. I don’t eat out much so I can’t comment much on other restaurants in the Gorge. I gave up years ago after too many disappointments. I could recommend a few places for beer around the Gorge if you like but it sounds like wine is more of your focus.
We didn’t end up going to the BBQ place, but stumbled upon a great Asian place called Pho River run by Laotian brothers. They make good curries and pho, and excellent Laotian sticky rice. Would recommend to anyone heading out to the Gorge near Hood River.
In terms of conditions, we had beautiful weather over the weekend and did some amazing hikes (mostly on the WA side).
Thanks again for the off-topic help!
I’ve heard of them and will now make a point of trying it. I would almost always prefer Pho over BBQ. Glad the weather held up and you found some good hikes. I was thinking about you and hoping you were having a good time.
To be more on topic…Did you end up going to Dundee? If so did you have a favorite winery. Did any change or add to your opinion of Pinot Noir? It is not my favorite but always like trying something new.
Yes, we did! Also had great weather there. It was a bit crowded, but we’d reserved ahead of time at Domaine Serene and had a very enjoyable time. We did the Prestive Tasting and really liked their Evenstad Reserve. Frankly though there are cheaper Barolos that I’d rather drink – a matter of taste I guess. The setting itself was beautiful and the cheese + meat plate quite good. Two cons: 1) they were a bit pushy with their membership, which I wouldn’t expect from a $40 tasting and 2) we had to really pull information out of the guy running the tasting
We also went to Domain Drouhin, though they weren’t doing their tours on Labor Day. It was more relaxed, with an even better view, but we liked the wines less – more of (what I think of as) the traditional style Pinot.
To round out the report, I’ll say we had lunch at Dundee Bistro. The lamb ragu was very good, and the outdoor seating very pleasant (though it wouldn’t have been fun in hotter weather though as the awning provides flimsy shade). The fish in chips wasn’t very good. Would go back, but only order appetizers and pastas.
@fovc, I too like the Evenstad Reserve at Domaine Serene but have never been remotely tempted to buy it for myself (did buy a bottle as a gift for a friend who’s a wine snob and he loved it) but I had never thought through that there are Barolos I’d rather drink – TOTALLY AGREE!! And it is a matter of taste, nothing else. Sounds like you had a nice day out, thanks for the report.
You both have made me realize my issues with Pinot. It is not that I don’t like it. Some I really like. It is just that for the price of many Oregon Pinot Noir, there are other wines I would rather drink. Or it might be my negative association due to the Pinot Noir loving wine snob in the movie sideways . Bring on the Merlot if it means I don’t have to listen to him
There’s a lot more to Oregon wines than
the Willamette Valley!
Come visit us down South sometime…