The family and I recently made our way out to the Oregon coast (Pinot country!) as part of an annual trip with a few college buddies and their families. We flew into PDX and loaded up the rental with the normal travel accoutrement these days: stroller, car seat, oversized luggage filled with diapers, books and butt paste (plus Krish’s stuff)…ya know, the bare essentials.
The drive out to the coast is about 2 hours from PDX. We wanted/needed to break it up somewhere in the middle so as to regain our sanity following, at minimum, two full album run throughs of Adele’s 25 (this is the only way my son will remain calm in the car for longer than 15 minutes. I blame my wife, but I also don’t argue as it does the job. I am an enabler, yes I know).
Back to the subject…we decided to stop in Dundee which is a little town in the Willamette Valley. We have come to love it here over the years when visiting friends or traveling for work. Only a short 45 minute drive from Portland, Dundee has a couple great restaurants along with a surrounding area that is filled with some of the greatest wineries in the Pacific Northwest. On the way out to the coast we decided to eat at The Dundee Bistro. This has been our “go to” spot for lunch every time we head to the valley. They have a great menu focused on well-prepared casual dishes (Pulled Pork, Fish and Chips, Wood Fired Pizzas, Fresh Pastas) and of course, a fantastic selection of local wines. My wife had the Lange Pinot Noir that went well with her margarita pizza and I had the H Pinot Noir that paired perfectly with my marinara pizza (It actually went really well with my kid’s chicken strips and fries too. Anyone else love paying for your child’s restaurant meal that they will take approximately three whole bites of?)
From there we headed up the hill to Torii Mor. This winery is perched atop the hill just 3 miles outside of Dundee and affords views of the entire valley. They have a nice little tasting room, Japanese garden and a huge deck for BYO picnics. We grabbed a bottle of their 2012 Deux Verres Reserve Pinot ($38) and took a seat on the deck. The space was perfect for us as it allowed my son to run around and play with rocks and dirt while we sat at a patio table looking out into the vineyards and views of the valley beyond. The woman in the tasting room was also incredibly accommodating to families. Oh and the wine was killer too. Amazing fruit right off the bat. Not a huge wine, but will probably sit for a couple more years if you are so inclined. Great to drink on its own as we did, but would pair well with the usual Pinot suspects such as salmon or grilled chicken.
By the time we finished the bottle it was time to hit the road for our weekend at the beach. We had already made plans to stop on the way back in a few days to try a new(to us) restaurant called Red Hills Market and hit Erath to try some of their lesser known single vineyard pinot noir.
Stay tuned for the recap Part 2 later this week – including Krish making himself right at home in the fanciest part of Erath’s property.