Left Coast Cellars, a biodynamic vineyard and winery outside of the town of Rickreall, was our next stop. Driving up the hill passed the vineyards, ambling along the curvy drive I wished we were on the motorcycle just then. Solar panels, a lake, many trees, meadow flowers, very busy bee hives, and some ducks caught my eye as we rolled in; hungry as we were this was our choice because they advertised a lunch menu.
Our wine tasting came first, but the chef, perfecting her French Onion Soup, brought us out a small taste – despite my love of garlic, it was not integrated well enough at that point. Several more wine tastes and another small soup taste came out – she nailed it! No question what we were having for lunch! We shared a bowl of soup and a panini. Excellence in wine, excellence in food, welcoming and restful ambiance, all made for a delightful experience.
While tasting the wines we were joined by one of the couples that had also been at Cherry Hill. They were native to Wisconsin, had driven out and found themselves in a quandary: too much wine to store in the car with all of the gear they brought for camping! What camping gear to leave behind, how best to store the wine in the car for the journey and, of course, discussion about the wines accompanied our tasting. Hoping the drive home with the stash was uneventful – I bet they are very happy they were on vacation when they were as Oregon and Washington are experiencing a super heat wave (east side temps over 100, west side temps in the 80-90’s) that we typically don’t experience, which would have made traveling with the wine more complicated.
Here, after tasting great Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, we had a White Pinot Noir and again I really enjoyed it! They also have a Rose of Pinot Noir with a lavender and fruit nose and lovely fruit on the palate. Pinot Noir, our true tasting goal, was widely represented. Our first was a 100% Pommard clone from 2011 called Right Bank. This single-clone was also a single-vineyard-designate; it was good, the best single-clone PN I felt we had come across. But my favorite was the 2012 Cali’s Cuvee, light in body, light in color, a bit of smoke on the nose, pie cherries and pomegranates on the palate with a lingering caramel and fruit finish. The 2009 Suzanne’s Estate Reserve PN had a stronger aroma of smoke on the nose and it was followed by smoke and leather and tannins on the palate! After our previous tasting I was somewhat more prepared for the tannins in the wine, but it still seemed out of character for the grape in my mind. My notes indicate I thought Pinot Noir was an ambidextrous grape – light and fruity or smoky and heavy.
We left with a couple of bottles, including a ‘Queen Bee Bubbly’ that we didn’t try but I was curious.
On our trek out we saw two guys in full beekeeping suits and veils removing the trays loaded with honey from a pair of box hives. My partner in wine worked bees once-upon-a-time in much less public places; interesting business.
Fast forward to the Fourth-of-July weekend with good friends and good food. Our celebratory beverage after the community fireworks display was this dry bubbly that was fun. For those of us that like a dry bubbly we enjoyed it solo, but for those that needed some sweetness we added hibiscus flowers. Happy memories made purchasing the wine and drinking it ten days later.