Even in the midst of Portland winter, dreams do come true. On Thursday, January 31, Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Hotel Lucia and Vitaly Paley hosted 'A Midwinter's Night Dream.' All proceeds of the even supported the Ronald McDonald House. While the cause is worthy and the opening of Paley's new restaurant Imperial is exciting, the wines stole the show.
After hours allowed Oregon's wine industry professionals to gather and enjoy the best that Yamhill-Carlton has to offer. Wine shop and bar owners, sales reps and winery associates mingled and talked vino for a few hours. Twenty-four wineries from Yamhill-Carlton AVA shared the literal fruits of their labor, and if that winery was operating in 2002, they brought a Pinot Noir of that vintage to share.
In a quiet corner of the room, stood a star of the show: Mark Wahle of Wahle Vineyards and Cellars. His family is proud owners of the oldest vines in Yamhill county, and many of the 2002 Pinot Noirs on display sourced their grapes from Wahle Vineyard. Planted in 1974, these grapes' roots grow deep, and it shows in the wines. Bravo! Another notable 2002 Pinot Noir, Shea Wine Cellars and Vineyard. That's Pinot Noir done right.
Kramer Vineyards had the distinct privilege of offering the singular bubbly with their 2010 Brut, which is half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir. The Pinot brought a dusty earthiness to this effervescent bubbler. Carlton Cellars also stood out with their crisp and delicious 2011 Proposal Rock Sauvignon Blanc. Yes, we love Pinot Noir, but this is a varietal that is surprisingly absent from many Oregon winery lists.
Belle Pente Vineyard and Winery brought a phenomenal 2009 Chardonnay, done the Oregon way: less new oak. With honeysuckle and mineral notes, this was a standout.
For a few hours on a Midwinter's Night, tasters at Hotel Lucia were transported and manipulated by the wine fairies of Yamill-Carlton AVA.