Wednesday, July 08, 2009

OPC Orientation & Dinner at Torii Mor Vineyards & Winery

The first night of Oregon Pinot Camp (OPC) was jam packed with things to do. From 4-7 was the Camper Orientation at Ponzi Wine Bar where all 50 participating wineries were pouring. At first it seemed a bit overwhelming. All these wines....sensory overload...! Once I picked myself up off the floor I realized that I need a game plan. Must have bubbles. I visited Soter Vineyards table & sampled their stunning Brut Rosé. In the glass it had such a gorgeous pale fleshtone with nice slow moving tiny bubbles. Super delicious. Up next was a sip of Argyle 2005 Brut which was filled with toasty, yeasty orange peel & apricot marmalade notes. The dosage left a hint of sweet fruit on the palate. I also tasted bright citrus, cooked apple, rainier cherry & a supple rich finish. After these two bubbles it was on to some still rosé from Soter. It was light pink/salmon with a distinct aroma of chalky, rocky soil & crushed cherries. The palate just made me smile. Fresh, bright & fruit with a soft, dry finish. I think at that point I just grabbed some salmon & sat down to take it all in. I...just couldn't believe I was actually there! Looking around I saw wine geeks just like myself sipping & spitting with big smiles on their faces. The winemakers were pouring their wines & chatting with those of us who were curious enough to ask questions. Everyone was emanating pure happiness. It was great. I do wish that my fellow campers were a little more eager to interact with one another but maybe they were quietly soaking it all in like I was. After OPC orientation I made my way up a long winding gravel road to Torii Mor Vineyards & Winery. I was invited to a casual backyard cookout by Marge & Ron Olson, the winery owners. I arrived a little early so I was the first one there. There were bottles of pinot gris, pinot blanc & riesling chilling as well as magnums of 2004 Olson Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir. Their home & tasting room are adjacent to their 35 year old Olson Estate Vineyard & situated atop the Dundee Hills Appellation. Their dog Corky conveniently laid at my feet waiting for me to drop my lamb burger stuffed with feta & sun dried tomatoes. The setting was absolutely stunning. Perched at the edge of their deck I could look down into the valley & across it to Mt. Hood. Their Olson Estate Pinot Noir easily matched the setting. It was rich with dark cherry & earthy spices on the nose. The palate was silky textured, round & beautifully balanced; so sensual & fleshy. This was just ridiculous! Was I really here?

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