Elyse winery where we tasted some really amazing wines, and a port that really impressed us. Previously, we had worried about tasting wines that seemed too expensive for us to purchase, but looking back it doesn't matter if you buy a bottle or not, you still get to enjoy your tasting (many places the tasty fee is waived with purchase of a bottle though so might as well if you really like it). The Elyse winery visits are by appointment only, partially they said to avoid drunken bachelorette parties and rowdy people in limos, but you can actually call that day and still get an appointment. Then, we visited Domaine Carneros which had some really nice sparkling wines. The tasting area is a bit of an over the top ostentatiously French looking set up, which is actually a very nice spot to enjoy some flights of bubbly.
Benziger family winery. They use a biodynamic approach to wine making which includes growing a variety of plants around the vineyard to attract different kinds of bugs and animals be to the vineyard ecosystem. It is also a true family farm with many people from the family who actually work there. It was all around a really pleasant place to take a tractor-tram pulled tour.We enjoyed their chardonnays, pinots, and even the port.
Landmark Vineyards. It is a very beautiful property, and after the tasting we playing croquet and bocce ball (I won). They had several kinds of chardonnay which all tasted different from each other. The Overlook Chardonnay is the most widely available, and it is very good. The Grenache was also very good and tasted a lot like a Rhone Valley wine.
Then we drove to Oregon. We saw the Pacific Ocean, almost ran over a bear crossing the road and listened to the audio book of Tina Fey's BossyPants (very funny).
Then we visited the Argyle Winery. We have been drinking their wines for years, and in fact I served their bubbly with our wedding day lunch in the bridal suite. Their pinots are great. At the tasting they also had a sparkling red, which was kind of weird, but seems like it would be festive for serving before a holiday meal.They also make a wine in the style of an ice wine which was actually very tasty. They were really genuinely nice and seemed to appreciate that we have been drinking their wines for years. Then we visited Willamette Valley Vineyards. We had one of their pinots for Scott's birthday at Jack's Oyster House a couple of years ago. Their pinots are all great, and we also tried some of their port which was maybe not as interesting as the port at the Elyse Winery or at Benziger's. They also have this weird wine made from whole clusters of grapes which does not age in an oak barrel. It is like bottled fruit salad, very light and fun. Because it isn't aged in a $1200 oak barrel it is also half the price as the rest of their wines. It was definitely an interesting wine. Then we went to De Ponte Cellars. They had great views, some great pinot noirs (some vintages were more mineral-like and some were more fruit forward, but they were all very well-balanced), and Melon de Bourgogne, a very tasty, crisp, and refreshing white wine.
It was so fun to learn about how wine is made, and get to try many different kinds side by side in order to compare them more directly than in normal life. All in all it was a really great time. Then we went to Moose Jaw, SK for a 50th wedding anniversary party (where all romantic honeymoons end up).