Sokol Blosser

Wine Country

What a good weekend! Logan turned 19 months old and was such a goofy, cute, fun little boy all weekend. He decided he wanted to learn how to jump. I have some pretty hilarious and adorable videos of him trying to learn how to jump up and down. He’s not quite coordinated yet.

Also this weekend, Michael and I got to get away for a little but on Sunday. Logan got some quality time with the grandparents and we got to have adult time with friends! Win-win! I went swimming and then we met up with some friends and drove down to Dundee, Oregon together.

It was the Sokol Blosser wine club pick up party over the weekend and we went with friends who are also members. First, we stopped for lunch at a place they recommended. It was called the Babica Hen Cafe.

I ordered the Blue Cheese and Bacon Salad. It came with grilled chicken and avocado and an egg on top. The salad was really delicious and fresh. It was also a ton of food. I only ended up eating about 80% of it. And…despite the low carb diet, I did have the bread that came with it. It was warm and freshly baked with melty butter…and hard to pass up. Lunch was delicious.

I kind of got talked into having a raspberry mimosa, which was also delicious.

Michael got the smoked salmon eggs benedict, Charla got the taco salad (looked delicious) and Ben got this crazy fried chicken and waffle dish I had to share a photo of!

It looked like there was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it, but it was mashed potatoes. With caramel syrup and coconut flakes on top. We all had a bite. It was super weird! But the presentation was great.

After lunch we arrived at the winery for the private members-only party. We weren’t sure if there was going to be “real” food there, hence the reason we stopped for lunch. But we arrived and there was a pretty decent spread of stuff. So next time, we’ll just bring a picnic lunch and supplement with the cheese, meat and olives they provided. They also had free coffee from a local place. Sadly, I forgot to get a sample of it.

We checked in and got a taste of their sparkling rose wine, which was really light and refreshing.

The place was packed but we found a cozy spot on the downstairs patio outside. The weekend had been super stormy, rainy and wet but we lucked out on Sunday to nice, warm and sunny weather instead.

It was kind of the perfect afternoon. We were all able to relax kid-free and have adult conversations. Way different than the last time we were there. šŸ˜‰

The wines were all so good. They were very generous with the pours. We spent a few hours tasting and hanging out.

Around 3:30 the place was starting to thin out. We were able to get a table inside and see the musician who was hired for the event. His name was Dante ZapataĀ and he was so good! I posted two videos on my instagram if yo are interested. When we joined the party, he was playing some old R&B songs acoustically. Loved the spin on some old favorites!

Charla suggested we stop at Argyle on the way home. She’s raved about their wines a few times.

It was a really cool, modern tasting room. There was tons of space both inside and outside, there was cool art inside and a private room in the back, plus outdoor covered areas and an area for bocci ball. It would be a fun place to go back to when we had more time.

Three of us shared some tastings. The wines were really excellent: smooth and rich and full of noticeable flavors that were easy to identify. It’s a shame their wine was too rich for our blood! I would have taken a bottle home but the cheapest one on the menu was $45! Ooof, little too much for my budget.

After that it was home to our little dude, who’d had a fantastic day with grandma and grandpa. Then Michael and I finished the season finale of Game of Thrones (holy crap that was crazy and intense!!!). What a great day!

Your Oregon Wine Tasting Guide

I was talking to someone online recently who said they were going to visit Oregon soon and wanted some suggestions on things to do/see and wineries that are a must-try. I gave her a few of my favorites and then got to thinking, I should do a post about some of the best places!

If you are planning on visiting Portland and want to go wine tasting (some of the best in the west!), this post is for you! Also, check out this old post I did about Portland must-see places.

There are a few places in Oregon that have great wine tasting. First up:

Hood River/The Gorge

The great thing about going wine tasting in The Gorge is that you can plan a weekend getaway and stay in this picturesque area of Oregon, or you can easily do a day-trip. Plus there is so much to do! Sightseeing, hiking, windsurfing, biking…you can find all sorts of things to do. Here is a list of the wineries in the area. These are my favorites that I always recommend to people:

Cathedral Ridge

We almost always hit Cathedral Ridge when we are visiting Hood River. It’s one of our favorites. We had a membership there for a little over a year, too.

The wines are nice. We usually focus on the reds here. The whites are hit-or-miss. Lately I’ve been really liking their chardonnay (which I usually don’t like!) so grab a bottle of that if you visit!

The nice thing about Cathedral Ridge is the little yard area. There are tables and benches with views of the vineyards and Mount Hood. It’s a really nice place to just hang out and if you had kids, let them run around in the yard and play.

Marchesi Vineyards

I have mixed feelings about Marchesi. I absolutely LOVE their wines. Most vineyard on this list are places where I enjoy 80-90% of their wines but there are always a few varieties that I’m not a fan of. But with Marchesi I’ve never done a tasting and disliked one of their wines. The tasting room is really nice and there are little private alcoves where you can lounge and have snacks (bread, crackers, cheese and salami) and do a tasting, or you can sit outside at one of the tables. They also have heat lamps outside for colder days.

The downside? The last few times I was there I had a not-so-great experience with someone who worked there and that was a bummer. Good customer service keeps me coming back…but the customer service wasn’t great. Which sucked because we were hoping to become members (and we ended up getting a membership at Cathedral Ridge instead because of the bad experience). I need to go back and give it another try. Hopefully it was just a fluke. This place can also get very crowded, FYI.

Wy’East

The tasting room is really big and open. But there is also a large patio area with tables, covered bistro tables and benches. It’s overlooking the gardens and vineyards. It’s really pretty and relaxing and a nice place to relax and enjoy a sunny day.

They have nice wines here–I tend to prefer their whites to their reds.

Syncline

I LOVE this place! It’s my new favorite winery in the Gorge. The wines are excellent–we both loved all of them! What really makes this place special? The grounds! They have a bunch of covered tables and Adirondack chairs all around for people to lounge. There were a bunch of hammocks, pretty gardens, and cornhole. It was such a cool, fun vibe and someplace I just wanted to hang out at. I really recommend this little gem. FYI – it’s on the Washington side of the Gorge (about 15 minutes from Hood River).

Phelps Creek

This is a nice little place in Hood River. You drive in the countryside, up and down rolling country roads, and when you get to the golf course, you’re there. I’ve always had a good experience at Phelps Creek–the people running the tasting room are really nice, fun, and knowledgeable.

Last time I was there we bought their Cuvee Pinot Noir and their small batch Chardonnay (steel barrel). They were both delicious.

Runner-up: Maryhill

Maryhill is a great place. I’ve been there for concerts and wine tasting. It’s in a gorgeous part of the Gorge (Washington side) with amazing views of the water, the desert, and vineyards. The good: the wine is great, the tasting room is huge, the patio and garden area is gorgeous and perfect for a picnic lunch. The bad: it is SUPER popular and ALWAYS very crowded. That can be frustrating and not the best experience. As a result, it’s been a few years since I’ve been.

If you head out to Maryhill, stop at the StonehengeĀ . Also, there are lots of hiking opportunities on the drive out there.

SkipThe Naked Winery (the wines aren’t very good, it’s just a gimmick); The Gorge White House (very cute, fun place to hang out, see the gardens and get food from the food cart but skip the wine).

McMinnville

Sokol Blosser

ThisĀ might be my new favorite winery. I loved it so much we decided to become members and cancel Cathedral Ridge–nothing against Cathedral Ridge, but Sokol Blosser blew it out of the water in my opinion!

Some friends are members and recently invited us to join them for a mini day trip down to Dundee, Oregon (about 1 hour south of Portland). They are members and that meant free wine tasting for us!

Sokol Blosser has been on my list of places I wanted to check out, for a long time, and finally we made it. The drive was pretty and the grounds were gorgeous. There were tons of outdoor areas to do tastings or having picnics. There was a giant tasting room upstairs and then downstairs there was a Cellar Lounge for members, plus more outdoor picnic areas.

We sat downstairs in the lounge for our tasting. It was comfortable and gorgeous and the architecture was worth a visit in itself. The wines? Outstanding. Plus they have different price points so no one is excluded. The Sokol Blosser Evolution line is cheaper, but still delicious, and I think you can even buy it at Costco. So check it out!

Brooks

We went here for my cousin’s bachelorette Party and I’m itching to return! What a cool tasting room! It’s out in farm country south of Portland. The tasting room is huge, there are couches and chairs inside to lounge at while you taste. There is also a big private room with a huge table where you can do private tastings if you are in a big group. I guess there’s also a downstairs area, but I didn’t see that. The deck area was fantastic. They had heat lamps and tons of blankets (we were there in February). The views were nice, it was peaceful and relaxing.

The wines are excellent and the service was top-notch. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

 

Other

Kriselle – Medford, Oregon

I wanted to include this one because we really liked the grounds and if you are in the area, check it out! I was pregnant at the time, so didn’t get the opportunity to taste the wines, but Michael liked the reds a lot and we bought a few bottles for gifts.

The outdoor tasting area was spectacular. There were views of the hills, countryside, mountains in the distance, vineyards and animals. The tasting room was huge, the patio outside was huge and had lots of tables and places to hang out. They also had a giant pizza oven (sadly it wasn’t open when we were there!).

If you are noticing a theme, I tend to love the wineries that have excellent outdoor lounge areas. šŸ™‚

Cheers!