Red Ridge farms/Durant vineyard and Vista Hills vineyard and winery and Zerba cellars

What a lovely sequence of 3 wineries to explore today!

Our first stop was Durant vineyard/Red Ridge Farms for the spring pick up party.

See prior posts on Durant vineyard, Red Ridge Farms, and Oregon olive mill:

3.2.13 Check out Red Ridge Farms and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on KOIN TV!

5.19.13 Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine and olive oil club spring pick up event

7.21.13 Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine club summer BBQ

View this Durant vineyards video from their website talking about their process.

The spring pickup lineup were the following 2 wines:

2013 Southview Vineyards Pinot Gris

Tasting notes:

580 cases.  Our vineyard has a large planting of Pinot Gris.  My father, Ken Durant, has always enjoyed this wine for its easy drinking characteristics-Unpretentious, fruity, racy acidity, a hint of sweetness, and low alcohol.  This is a wine meant to be consumed on your patio, front porch, or when tailgating with good friends with a barbecue fired up nearby.

2012 La Casita Vineyard Pinot Noir

Tasting notes:

155 cases.  We poured this wine as a sneak peak at the winter pickup party.  I have mixed emotions about releasing this wine so early.  It is probably the “biggest” pinot noir we have ever produced, and we do not strive for “big reds”-honestly, quite the opposite.  However, you play the hand you’re dealt with and 2012 dealt some amazing wines and La Casita fits that model.  It is luscious, rich, deep and just damn good.  I hope you savor this wine as it is unique and quite exceptional.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

This is an interesting description as La Casita has always been my favorite and it’s not their poster child block.  However, I do tend toward bold reds and this one is luscious and earthy!  I’m holding onto my bottles of 2011 whole berry and 2011 whole cluster as long as I can as they are going to be so delicious!

Our next stop was Vista hills vineyard which is close to Durant vineyard.  They have a lovely pond at the front door.

Vista hills

The treehouse tasting room is such a lovely view of the vineyard!

Vista hills vineyard

Vista hills 2

The 2011 Piedmont estate pinot noir reminds me of what I enjoy about a great Nebiollo.

Tasting notes:
A polished estate Pinot Noir, with a sweet vanilla bean nose and juicy berry notes. Strawberry and raspberry give way to tempered tannins and a soft and extensive finish. 180 cases produced. 90 Points – Wine Enthusiast.

Vines: Vista Hills Old Block C and Block F
Clones: 667, 777
Barrel Regimen: 18 months in French oak, medium plus toast (40% new)

Our final stop was Zerba cellars which is on the way through Dundee back to Portland.  This is only a tasting room as the vineyards are in the Walla Walla valley.  They are an interesting contrast to the pinot noir in the Dundee AVA as I do enjoy bold reds and Italian and Spanish varietals such as Nebiollo, Tempranillo, Barbera, Malbec, etc.

Tempranillo tasting notes:

This medium-bodied red is sourced exclusively from certified sustainable vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley (LIVE, VINEA, IOBC, and Salmon Safe}. Intertwining aromas featuring black licorice, olive, leather, and caramel lead into a pleasing mouthful of dried cherries, and granite on the way to a smooth dark leathery finish.

Malbec tasting notes:

A medium-bodied red that does not disappoint.  This smooth red features rich aromas of huckleberry, lavendar, tobacco and granite that transition into dark cherry flavors and a dark spiciness that leads to a bright huckleberry finish.

Barbera tasting notes:

This light-bodied everyday Italian drinking wine showcases intense currant aromas along with allspice, graphite, and lavender.  As you begin sipping the wine prepare for bright raspberry flavors that fade to dark cherry on the way to a lightly oaked finish.  Enjoy with your favorite pasta or light grilled barbeque fare.

However, their “Wild Z” red blend is quite good as well.

Tasting notes:

This full bodied red table blend is 52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon. Contains cedar, dark plum, and white pepper aromas that lead up to tantalizing flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, and cedar with hints of earth and currants. This perfect everyday wine pairs with a wide range of foods.

What a delightful afternoon of red wine tasting!


Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine and olive oil club spring pick up event

I apologize to all my readers that I’ve been long overdue for a new post.  I have been in the process of building a house and selling another house so I got tied up with that…now on to the juicy stuff…

Backtracking a couple of months to May…

Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine and olive oil club spring pick up event

This was the 2nd pick up party we’ve attended since joining the wine club last fall.  We were greated with the delicious smell of lamb grilling from SuDan farm where they apparently raise hormone free and grass-fed lamb in Canby, Oregon.  Additionally, we sampled and purchased cheese from jersey cows from Willamette Valley Cheese company, sampled honey from Rolling Hills apiary in Newberg, and checked out Doug’s Nuts offered locally grown hazelnuts.

The cheese from Willamette Valley Cheese company made a delectable snack along with Cyprus Black Lava salt from Red Ridge Farms.

Snack made from Willamette Valley Cheese company cheese

Our spring shipment included the following:

2011 La Casita Whole Berry Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
2011 La Casita Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
2010 Lark Chardonnay, Dundee Hills
Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Spanish olive trees)
Koroneiki Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Greek olive trees)
Orange Champagne Vinegar

2011 La Casita Whole Berry Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
Tasting Notes:
79 cases. Sourced from the La Casita Block, Dijon 114 clones on 44-55m rootstock planted in 2000. Yield 2.5 tons per acre from 13 year old vines. Garnet red with a hint of violet blue hues, this wine has an intense bouquet with deep herbal earth tones. Arresting aromas of cola, dried beef, menthol, plum, black currant, vanilla, and mocha. Soft, silky tannins on the palate with restrained elegance. Bursting with flavors reminiscent of Root beer float, Marion berry, graham cracker with oak spice followed by a rich, dense finish.

2011 La Casita Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
Tasting Notes:
79 cases. Sourced from the La Casita Block, Dijon 114 clones on 44-55m rootstock planted in 2000. Yield 2.5 tons per acre from 13 year old vines. Bright garnet red in the glass. The nose is perfumed with aromas of raspberry, cherry, dried leaves, clove, red licorice, pot pourri, and huckleberry. Fresh, juicy red fruits burst on the palate coupled with dusty tannins. Flavors of blood orange, cedar, milk chocolate, caramel, Asian spices, and a slight hint of menthol coat your mouth. The finish is focused and linear with tart red fruits and mouth-watering acidity.

2010 Lark Chardonnay, Dundee Hills
Tasting Notes:
Medium-bodied, Burgundian style Chardonnay with a minerality, bright acids and balance.  Fermentation in neutral oak creates texture and richness in the mid and back palate.  Hints of green apple, pear and tropical fruit round out the finish.

It was fascinating to sample and learn about the whole cluster vs. the whole berry pinot noir from the La Casita block.  The whole cluster means that both grapes and stems are included in the fermentation process whereas the whole berry means that intact berries are fermented.  They were quite distinctive and both delicious!

Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Spanish olive trees)
Aroma: Sweet grass with floral undertones.
Flavor profile: Nutty, buttery flavor with a hint of banana, and mild pepper finish.
Serving suggestions: Blend with fresh minced garlic, sea salt, diced heirloom tomatoes and serve over rustic bread.

Koroneiki Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Greek olive trees)
Aroma: Tomato leaves married with spice tones.
Flavor profile: Mild arugula, fresh cut hay, with a mild pepper finish.
Serving suggestions: Mix with fresh dill, tarragon and ground white pepper and top over grilled salmon.

The orange champagne vinegar and Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil make a delicious, simple dressing for salad!

Link to Red Ridge Farms’ blog The Ridge Runner.

I’m looking forward to the fall shipment and hope you’ll check out Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill for yourself!

Check out Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on KOIN TV!

Check out Red Ridge Farms and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on KOIN TV!

KOIN TV’s new series GO! NW visits Red Ridge Farms in the Dundee Hills and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on NW 21st in Portland.  This last June we became acquainted with Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill.  Back in October, we attended the pickup party for the wine club at Red Ridge Farms.

They are our very favorite winery in the Willamette Valley so far.  And, they are the only olive mill that I’m aware of in the Portland, OR area.  See this November 2012 article from Portland Monthly on the Oregon Olive Mill.

Check out KOIN TV’s new series GO! NW Season 1 Episode 5 with a look at Red Ridge Farms and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar.

I’m not familiar with Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar, but I plan to check it out soon!  Bon Appetit…

Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine and olive oil club pick up event

Red Ridge wine and olive oil club pick up event

This is our first year with the wine and oil club so we didn’t know what to expect at this event.  There was a nice sampling of their chardonnay and pinot noir along with tasty bites from the following local venders:

Briar Rose Creamery
Their goat cheese was delicious.  I particularly liked the spicy chipotle chevre.

Fino in Fondo

Their thinly sliced salami was quite an assortment of mild to spicy options.

Smitten Truffles

There was quite a range of flavors from vanilla to salty caramel to lime.  Their Kalamansi was quite a surprise.  Here are the tasting notes from their website:  “…Filipino lime puree paired with a layer of creme honey for a tart yet slightly sweet finale…”

Olive oil and vinegar     Olive oil

We received great value for our $150 with 3 wines (2 pinot noir and 1 chardonnay) and 3 olive oil/vinegar (Arbequina (Spanish) and Tuscan (Italian) extra virgin olive oils and fig vinegar).  The fig vinegar combined with the olive oil will make a delicious salad dressing!

Durant vineyards wine     Durant vineyard pinot noir

Here are the details on the wine:

2010 Heron Vineyard Pinot Noir
Vineyard:            Heron
Clone:                  Pommard
Rootstock:           5C
Planting Date:    1993
Aging in Barrel:  21 Months in French Oak
Winemaker:        Marcus Goodfellow
Cases Produced: 101
Tasting Notes:  Darker, more brooding notes of black cherry, blackberry and coca-cola on the nose with leather and spice on the palate. Medium-bodied with light tannins, medium to high acidity with a velvety textural quality. A longer barrel aging program (21 months) lends to more intensity of fruit, complex flavors and a silky smooth finish.

2010 La Casita Vineyard Pinot Noir
La Casita
Pommard 3309
Tasting Notes:  Medium ruby color in the glass with nose of spices, vanilla, and sweet red cherries.  The flavors develop from bright red fruit into oak and soft earth character.  The finish is long and smooth, with supple tannins and balanced acids.

2011 Raven Vineyard Chardonnay
Vineyard:            Raven
Clone:                   Dijon 76
Rootstock:           101-14
Planting Date:    1993
Aging in Steel:    8 months, one new barrel
Winemaker:       Isabelle Duarte
Cases Produced:125
Tasting Notes:  Pale lemon in the glass with aromas of green apple, pear and citrus notes. Bright, clean, with vibrant acidity and hints of grapefruit that spill across the palate. This wine is medium-bodied with delicate flavors showcasing a purity of fruit.

Walking Tour of Red Ridge Farms near Dundee (Home of Oregon Olive Mill, Durant Vineyards, and Red Ridge Farms)

What a delightful experience at Red Ridge Farms today!  I went on the 2-1/2 hour walking tour at Red Ridge Farms near Dundee.  They are the home of the Oregon Olive Mill and Durant Vineyard which is apparently one of the founders of the Oregon wine industry.  It was a bit rainy, however, it was still a great tour. It’s $40 per person and reservations and a credit card are required.

Our tour guide was Paul Durant who is the son of the owners.  The tour started out in the gift shop and then on to the Olive press where we sampled 3 types of their olive oils-Spanish, Greek, and Tuscan. We then hiked up the hill to one part of their vineyard and sampled Pinot Gris and Rose.  Then we hiked back down the hill to other sections of the vineyard and sampled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  I’m not a Chardonnay fan as they tend to be too “thick” and buttery for me.  I was pleasantly surprised as the Chardonnay was “crisp” and lighter and what our tour guide described as “neutral.”  Finally, we hiked up an extreme hill to return to the tasting room back by the gift shop.  We sampled a platter of meats and cheeses and a glass of the wine of our choosing.  I tried a bottle of the Pinot Noir from a different clone and region of their vineyard than what we had sampled earlier during the tour.

We learned a lot about the process of pressing olives into olive oil and the the importance of doing it as naturally as possible as opposed to adding chemicals.  We were fascinated that the olive trees were doing as well as they were for such a rainy region of the country vs. hotter areas like Spain, Italy, and Greece.  In their gift shop and their tasting room olive oil, wine, etc. can be purchased.  They also have a wine club that ships wine or olive oil or both twice a year-fall and spring.

When we first arrived at Red Ridge Farms, there was a beautiful view from the parking lot/gift shop of the rows upon rows of grape vines.

Red Ridge Farms

One of the Spanish olive trees near the Olive Mill.  We sampled the Spanish olive oil first.  It was grassy and bitey with a burn in the throat at the end.  It wasn’t my favorite.  We then sampled the Greek olive oil.  It was my favorite.  It was more mellow with good flavor.  Finally, we sampled the Tuscan/Italian olive oil.  It was my 2nd favorite of the 3.

Olive tree

This is not the BIG hill at the end of the tour, however, it’s the initial hill down into the sections of the vineyard with the Pinot Noir vines on the left and the Chardonnay vines on the right.  It was interesting to learn about the clones from France and California.


Rows of grape vines.  In some sections of the vineyard they rotated plowing the ground between the vines and planting grass and clover between.  They are a dry farm? and this keeps the soil as moist as possible.


I just realized that I forgot to take a photo of the new tasting room.  It’s quite a nice set up and has a wonderful view of parts of the vineyard.

After the tour it was time for lunch so we stopped at Red Hills Market in Dundee.  I had heard about this on Red Ridge Farm’s website from their Memorial weekend event.  They had catered pizza and other goodies during the event.

Red Hills Market

We decided to sample a veggie pizza and an Italian sandwich.  The pizza was delicious in its simplicity.  It both looked and tasted delicious.  It was primarily a margarita/peasant style style with a thin, flaky crust and the spring mix on top was interesting.


The Italian sandwich was quite delicious as well.  The bread seemed homemade (similar to the pizza crust in some ways) and the salami, cheese, and spring mix were delightful with a dijon mustard on the bread.


At the tasting room at the vineyard, we had noticed that they sell a “soda” of their wines-chardonnay, pinot noir, etc.  We didn’t try any, but noticed that the market had the chardonnay version.  It was similar to a sparkling pear or apple and was a nice, unusual refreshment option.

Wine soda

While at the market, we purchased some peppered smoked salmon from Newman’s fish company.  It was a bit pricey at $16, however, it was delicious for dinner atop fresh tortellini with Alfredo sauce.  The shredded parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper finished the dish off nicely.  The Salmon was perfectly tender and the flavor was amazing!  It would have paired nicely with a glass of chardonnay.

Salmon tortellini