Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Should Spring Decide to Show Up; The Willamette Valley is Ready

A couple days ago I woke up to snow. It's like mid to late-ish March here. Why are there snow flakes? I live in Seattle, at like 4 feet above sea level, it's warm, or it's supposed to be. This is nonsensical.

Spring is supposed to be coming upon us and if it ever gets here there are a bevy of Oregon Wine events to greet it. Luckily for us, and perhaps more importantly, these events will go off in spite of the weather. Oregon Wine Month was declared for the month of May and we'll have lots of Oregon wine to talk about in the next few weeks. There are so many events and some we will highlight more in-depth. What I do want to bring your attention to though is that the culminating event, Unwine'd Celebrate Oregon Wine on April 29th is being sponsored by the good, and well dressed folks here at the Anthem. Between now and then you'll have lots of opportunities to learn about Oregon wine, attend some of these more regionally focused events and also win tickets to Unwine'd. We'll be giving away two pairs actually.

March 24th: Equinox in the Eola Amity Hills
The barrage of Oregon wine events kicks off on March 24th in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA for Equinox at Zenith Vineyard. The event will feature 30 Eola-Amity wineries and food from local establishments including the legendary Joel Palmer House. The Eola-Amity AVA is the largest of the Willamette AVAs but because it's also the farthest south it's not as often visited. Take this opportunity to make the drive down and hit many of the wineries in one fell swoop. Details and ticket information are here.

March 31st & April 1st: North Willamette Wine Trail
From the south end of the Willamette Valley to the northern tip the North Willamette Vintners welcome you to two days of tasting on the North Willamette Wine Trail. 24 area wineries welcome you to their tasting rooms, providing samples from the barrel, reserve bottlings or new releases. Willamette Valley stalwarts like Cooper Mountain and Ponzi alongside new and undiscovered gems will be showing their wines. There are a series of wine education seminars on the trail including topics like: biodynamics, soil composition in vineyards as well as blending trials at Apolloni and a sake and wine tasting at Sake One. Get your tickets and more details here.

April 1st: Passport to Dundee Hills
Beginning April 1st and lasting the entire month (on weekends) is the Passport to Dundee Hills. $20 gets you discounted tastings and access to many of the state's best known wineries throughout the month of April. Some of the biggest names in Pinot Noir such as Domaine Drouhin, Eyrie Vineyards, Sokol Blosser and my favorite and lesser known Dundee producer Anderson Family Vineyard will be participating. Save $5 on the passport by liking them on Facebook and take advantage of savings at local wineshops, restaurants and cafes as well. Passports and details are here.

April 9th: Columbia Gorge Wineries Passport
The Gorge wineries come to Portland's Melody Ballroom for a Monday of wine tasting. The event is 4-7pm and will feature 28 wineries. You'd be smart to note that this is not a Willamette Valley tasting event but rather the Gorge represents the transition zone between the cool climate of the Willamette and the drier Columbia Valley. What the Gorge AVA does offer is "A world of wine in forty miles." With varietal variance, from Zinfandel to Dolceto, Pinot Noir to Albarino. Tickets and more information here.

April 19th: Mountains to Metro
My favorite AVA in all of Oregon has to be the Chehalem Mountain AVA, and that very AVA and it's close neighbor Ribbon Ridge are teaming up to bring their terroir driven wines to both the hipster and metrosexual crowd in Portland's The Governor Hotel from 5-9 on the 19th. "Emphasis will be placed on the appellation’s unique blend of soils, elevation range and corresponding flavor profiles for its many grape types." For my money the most uniquely site specific Pinots in Oregon. Tickets and details can be had here.

April 29th: Unwine'd Celebrate Oregon Wine
On April 29th in Portland's Left Bank Annex Unwine'd will allow you to fully explore all that this state offers. Wineries from many of the Willamette Valley AVAs, Southern Oregon, the Gorge and the Walla Walla Valley, on the Oregon side will give you the perfect Oregon Wine 101 opportunity. In addition the Superior Cellar Awards which acknowledges some of Oregon's finest restaurants with a commitment to Oregon Wine will also allow guests the opportunity to sample their perfectly paired bites to eat. Over 100 wineries, paired plates, educational seminars and the ability to purchase the wine you tasted their on site make this first annual Unwine'd an event not to miss. This event will very likely sell out quickly, so grab your tickets here or pay attention to the Anthem's facebook page as we'll be giving away a few.


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