A Day in Dundee Hills

Still on location in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. 

Today was the day I was looking forward to.  I think I dreamnt about it. 

Wine Tasting Wednesday!  Oh Yeah!

The rain and light snow (that melted before it hit the ground) was NOT going to get in the way of the little tasting I had planned. 

For me, Dundee Hills wine tasting was happening regardless of weather.  And it did.

Dundee Hills, in the North Willamette Valley, is what I consider the epicenter for Oregon Pinot Noir. 

The wines made here have a sense of place with unique factors making the Dundee Hills a well known and respected American Viticultural Area.

Dundee Hills is sheltered by the Chehalem Mountains in the North from the cold influences created by the Columbia River Gorge and protected in the West by the Coast Range Mountains, creating a rain shadow blocking maritime influences originating from the Pacific Ocean. 

Dundee Hills experiences warmer nights due to its elevation, keeping the frost at bay, a problem often found on the valley floor.

Today the plan was to taste at three wineries and enjoy the views.  It wasn’t a problem.

On the agenda,  Sokol Blosser, Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene.  All were spectacular and all were very different.

Today I will share with you my tasting at Sokol Blosser, a family owned winery and one of the original Oregon pioneering families that believed in a sustainable Oregon wine industry when many of the naysayers said that the climate here could not support a quality wine making region. 

Here is the sign at the winery entrance on Highway 99.  Nothing fancy but the property itself is beautiful.

Thess are some of Sokol Blosser’s vineyard blocks that are passed as you make your way up to the hilltop tasting room, which by the way has a killer view.

So while the hooligans and the Wild Boar ran around outside, I went inside for a little taste.

Evolution, 12th Edition $16

Wow, I loved this. 

This is an interesting white blend of nine different varietals; Pinot Gris, Muller Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sylvaner. 

This is by far one the best proprietary white blends I have experienced in a long time. 

Very fruity. Crisp and clean.  The perfect summer wine that would go well with all things spicy. 

Sokol Blosser makes about 50,000 cases of this.  This is what I would call their cash-flow wine.  It is distributed everywhere and I bet you can get it at a wine store near you.  Look for it.

2006 Rose of Pinot Noir $12

I love a good rose. 

My blogging program does not let me put the little accent mark above the “e” which makes me insane.  This wine is not pronounced like the flower.  But whatever, I’m over it.

Anyway, this wine was a great example of a fruity rose that had upfront strawberry aromas followed by a great finish.  An all around enjoyable wine that would be great for all the upcoming warm evenings on the patio. 

2005 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir $34

You can really taste the dust in this one, and it’s not a bad thing.  Earthy.  Truffle.  Mocha.  These characteristics were all things I was picking up in every taste.  Good structure and just a very well-polished wine.

Overall, enjoyable.

Meditrina, IV $18

Another one of Sokol Blosser’s proprietary blends, this one red.

This surprised me.  A blend of Pinot Noir, as the base, and Syrah and Zinfandel to round out the balance.  

You would not think of putting these varietals together, but having done some blending experiments myself I know that sometimes the strangest pairings make the best wines; even if it’s only a 1% addition.

Meditrina is a Roman goddess of wine and health.  I guess that’s why they chose her name for their blend. 

This wine was extremely fruit forward, more so than I expected.  It reminded me of a berry pie.  Which is a good thing.

2006 Estate White Riesling Dessert Wine $40

Saved the best for last.  This is one of those knock your socks off dessert wines that would be the perfect addition to any after dinner cheese selection (something sharp) or even better Creme Brulee.

It’s sweet but had a great acidity to it.  A true winner.  Floral, nutty, honey…need I say more? 

And yes, this wine is making the trip home with me, unless I open it in my hotel room.  That could very well happen.

Here’s an old vine on their property.  No sign of budbreak here.  Spring comes a little late in Oregon compared to the Napa Valley.

Here are the hooligan’s.  I found them running in the vineyard rows, their shoes covered in mud.  Nothing unusual for them.

Overall, a great start to a perfect day.  And it was only 11:30 AM.

Post a Comment


  1. Thanks for the tip…I am going to get that Evolution today! Have you worn your new boots yet?

  2. Wow, that was like reading in a foreign language. I guess I’m not very sophisticated. I’ve never understood wines and wine language. Now I know where to look if I need to find a wine recommendation though. I always feel so stupid when I go to the liquor store for anything but beer or whiskey. I’m just completely overwhelmed by all the different choices.

  3. I love a good Pinot Noir, and the one you have here sounds outstanding. I’m going to look for it at my local wine places, and if they don’t have it I’m tempted to see if I can order it online.

  4. Evolution, sounds interesting. I’ll have to grab a bottle. Thanks for the insight!

  5. krysta 5

    You can get Evolution everywhere it was a good seller where I used to work.

    About the mark above the e in rose. If it’s driving you crazy and you really want to put that mark above it, my oldest sous chef would tell to find it somewhere on the internet and copy and paste it into your post. I’ve done it for the pi symbol and for some spanish things I’ve had to type. It drives me crazy also.

  6. Mmmm…love the Evolution 9. Love it! I have it whenever we go out for sushi. It’s a perfect sushi wine.

  7. I am really enjoying living this experience through your blog! It’s exhilarating to see you start this from the very beginning. Happy Thursday!

  8. Your pictures make me homesick! Very different terrain from Massachusetts.

  9. That vineyard looks beautiful.

  10. Vonda 10

    Oh yeah the Evolution! That is a favorite of ours, especially my husband. I love Sokol Blosser…we have gone to a few concerts there in the summers with a blanket, good food and of course good wine. Great photos….

  11. Anna 11

    I love Pinot Noir, but it’s really hard to find good ones for less than $12.00. I think I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and spend more money on it every. single. time. I will look for Dundee Hills. As for Evolution, I see that one all the time, but wasn’t sure what it was like. I will definitely try it now! Thanks for the review.

  12. I asked my husband to pick up a bottle of wine tonight and he came home with a two-liter of Yellow Tail.

    I don’t want to talk about it.

  13. Krissy 13

    You are so lucky!

    Ummmm…..wine! I have wine everyday too….except my wine is the kind that comes out of my 10yr olds mouth (whine!)

  14. ALF 14

    We definitely need a bulldozer like that for our backyard. Not to doze the stuff that’s already there but to dominate all those rocks and dirt!

  15. Deb 15

    I will have a glass of the Pinot Rose’ please! I am so jealous! I am in need of a winery visit! Would you hurry and get yours finished! Oh Cathy, while you were there I bet you were in dream world! Your place is going to look like that in the future!

  16. Cakespy 16

    Oh my god…and all before 11.30!! Invite me next time please!!

  17. Ok. I am so going to be looking for that Evolution, 12th Edition.

    Sounds great!

  18. pam 18

    Wow! Sokol Blosser is always one of our no-brainer wines to choose. How great that you get to visit and taste! I am so enjoying your wine adventures!

  19. Liz C. 19

    Wow! I am so completely in awe of that goorgeous land. Ok, I’m in the West Texas desert. What can I say? It looks like Italy.

    If you build it, we will come…


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting