Friday, November 18, 2011

Another Oregon Winery Steps into the Spotlight

Come closer. I have a secret I'd like to whisper in your ear. There's a new winery in town and I know you want to know all the juicy details before everyone else does.

Since I’m always on the lookout for new wines and wineries to share with you, when I heard about the upcoming Grand Opening of the Hyland Estates tasting room in Dundee this weekend, I knew you’d want me to get and spill the latest dirt.

So, digging in deep, I visited the tasting room a couple days shy of their big debut and met with the winery's Tasting Room Manager Eric Baldwin, who shared with me all he knew about the Hyland Estates story and let me preview the wines.

Purchased in 2007, Hyland Estates is owned by the NW Wine Company (i.e. Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus -Montalieu of Solena Estate) and though the 200-plus acres have been supplying preium grapes to many of Oregon's most prestigious wineries since 1971, the Estate is just releasing its inaugural bottlings and providing a stunning venue in which to preview them.

The swanky tasting room is located in the original and remodeled residence on the grounds of the NW Wine Company. From the outside it looks like a modest home, but inside, in complete opposition, it's all sleek, elegant surfaces with bold, vivid art and a trendy (chichi?), upscale feel.

Producing just over 500 cases a year, Hyland Estates wines are boutique wines, but with 200-plus acres of vines at their fingertips, the winery is poised to accommodate demand. “Always being a vintage away of having more production is a nice position to be in”, says Baldwin. Though the vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Muller Thurgau, they don’t make a Chardonnay or Muller Thurgau, preferring to focus on very limited production of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. 

The vineyard is situated in the McMinnville AVA on ashy and volcanic Jory and Nekia soils. The lovely 2010 Hyland Estates Pinot Noir ($35) showed aromas and flavors indicative of the region, with an abundance of dried cranberries and juicy, dark plums as well as pleasant notes of vanilla cola, moist earth, lingering smoke and roses.

Though not available for tasting on my visit (but hopefully in time for the Grand Opening, and definitely by Thanksgiving weekend), the winery is scheduled to release two additional higher end Pinot noirs; one is a clonal selection called Hyland Estates Coury Clone ($60) and the other, the Hyland Estates Founders Selection ($100), was crafted from just one chosen barrel and then aged for a full two years (only 28 cases of this wine was produced).

Providing an alternative to Pinot gris, the winery is also featuring their bone-dry 2010 Hyland Estate Gewurztraminer ($25), bright aromas of white grapefruit, pear and orange blossoms. The 2009 Hyland Estates Riesling ($25) was very untraditional as far as Riesling goes, and simple, if not flat, with green apple and citrus.

Visit the tasting room for their Grand Opening celebration November 19th and 20th where the wines will be presented alongside tasty morsels. If you can't make it for that weekend, stop by the next time you're out and about in Wine Country; you'll be glad you did.

Open daily from 11-5
20980 NE Niederberger Road, Dundee OR
Join them on Facebook or call them directly at (503) 554-4200

Speaking of being out and about in Wine Country, next time you are, be sure to include a stop at the Red Hills Market in Dundee (which is really so much more than just a market); it's seriously worth making a special drive from Portland just to come here. I discovered their holy-cow-good roast beef sandwiches worth road tripping for (and quite possibly even considering for a last meal) and though it's tempting to try and keep that goodness all for myself, I loved it so much, I want to scream from the rooftops about how great this sandwich was.

Wander around while you wait for your food and you'll find local charcuterie and cheeses, house-made baked goods, locally made products, books, home decor, and 100-plus local wines and craft beers you can enjoy on-premise or to-go. All their craft sandwiches and pizzas are wood-fired and come served right in the roasting pan for a rustic, warm, homey feel. There's even cocktails, locally roasted coffee and fresh nosegays for whatever pick-me-up you so desire.

Consider the Wine Taster's Survival Box, which contains a selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives,  chocolate, a fresh baguette and 2 waters, add a view overlooking the Valley or a vineyard and tell me it doesn't result in complete and utter satiation. Peruse the Red Hills Market menu on their website, then be the hero and avoid the lunch rush by calling ahead with your order, (971) 832-8414.


One a side note, when Eric poured the Pinot Noir, one of the bottles was clearly corked, meaning it was flawed and smelled fowl, being adversely affected by the presence of TCA in it. I remember reading a tweet from my definitively Portlandian friend Jenny Moshbacher (@secretcrumpet on Twitter), who’s also a writer for the fabulous and informative wineblog NW Wine Anthem, about how putting saran wrap in a TCA-tainted bottle cured the problem right up. I mentioned this to Eric and setting off on an epic experiment, he went and procured a piece of saran wrap, which he then crumbled into a ball, stuffed into the neck of the bottle, jiggled down into the wine and stuffed the cork back on top. We went about our chat and when we were wrapping things up, we decided to check on the “experiment”. What was once a completely unpalatable bottle of wine, was somehow transformed into one smelling of fruit and spice instead of mold. Magic? Seemingly.

Apparently, according to an article in the New York Times from Andrew Waterhouse, a professor of Wine Chemistry at UC Davis who exposes the secrets of the magic trick, the reason it works is that the culprit molecule in infected corks (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) is chemically similar to polyethylene and actually binds to the plastic.

Thank you Jenny for your superior wine-salving skills and for sharing your super-sleuthy and MacGyver-like wine knowledge with those of us smart enough to follow you.


virtuallars said...

I found your side note to be the most interesting piece of this blog. I love it! Thanks for sharing the magic. And yes, I most definitely will have to check out Hyland Estates

Sip with Me! said...

Thanks Lars, I'll take that backhanded compliment! ;) Yes, I was wondering if the side note should have been its own blog post. Fascintating!