Wine Lovers Discover Quality Big Bold Reds in Oregon Wine Country
Where are big red wine lovers travelling to in 2021? It may not be where you think, because more and more big red wine drinkers are exploring what Oregon has to offer. While the Willamette Valley is known for growing Pinot Noir, big bold reds have started to take hold and what isn’t grown here is brought here from southern Oregon and eastern Washington to be made into big luscious wines. With Oregon moving up the list to hold the spot of the second largest number of wineries in the US(!), and Oregon’s Willamette Valley alone boasting over 600 wineries, it’s no wonder big red wine drinkers are taking note and taking their wine tasting adventures to the vineyards of Oregon.
As a B&B in the center of Willamette Valley’s wine country, Newberg’s Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast is the home base for many of these big red connoisseurs. And so, with guest feedback, together with our experience as locals and interested innkeepers, we’re well-situated to be your source for all of the “big red” hidden gems you need to visit on your next wine tasting adventure…in Willamette Valley, Oregon!
Natalie’s Estate Vineyard
Begin your 2021 Big Red Wine Adventure with Natalie’s Estate Vineyard. A visit to this boutique winery, with its magical tasting room tucked into the foothills of Chehalem Mountain, will delight you at every turn. You’ll remember why you fell in love with wine tasting in the first place when winemaker and proprietor Boyd Teegarden personally guides you through a wonderful array of hand-crafted and small batch wines born from estate grown grapes and fruit sourced from Pacific Northwest vineyards. Imagine starting with a crisp Rosé of Pinot Noir, moving to a robust Pinot Noir and as you taste and compare some of their big red varietals – a Sangiovese, a Cabernet Sauvignon, or their Merlot – you’ll be shown how pairing each with cured meats, fine cheeses or chocolates, brings out the best in each wine. At once accessible and decadent, this is a tasting experience you must not miss.
Open daily with reservations.
The land and vineyards surrounding Blizzard Wines, 20 minutes northwest of our B&B, has belonged to the VanSchepen family since the 1980’s. While they sold their fruit to nearby wine producers for the better part of three decades, Blizzard’s own wine with their own label wasn’t unveiled until 2013, when daughter Dana Blizzard – now winemaker and owner – heralded in a new era of organic viticulture and wine production.
Dana and husband Nick Blizzard, have created a beautiful space in which to enjoy the literal fruit of their labor – estate grown Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and, of course, the rich, nuanced and delicately balanced big reds. We love their easy-drinking GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend) and the Carménère, a true stand-out. New to the line-up is their brandy-fortified Syrah dessert wine and if you’re a fan of bubbly, you can taste imported Champagne from the famed French region. On your 2021 Big Red Wine Adventure, we recommend reserving Blizzard Wines as the second tasting of the day, where you can snack on one of their delicious charcuterie and cheese boards with a glass in hand and surrounded by views of the valley.
Reservations highly recommended, Thursday – Sunday 11-5.
Newberg & Amity, Oregon
Steve Saxton and Luci Serrato had a dream of bringing two of their great loves together: big bold red wines and Oregon. In owning and producing the big red wines of Bravuro Cellars, they’ve done just that. Sourcing grapes mostly from Lodi, California, you’ll find a roster of hot-climate, full-bodied reds like Barbera, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, and a personal favorite, their Carignane. This varietal comes from vines planted in 1900 and would be worth a visit to taste if it was the only wine. But believe me, you’ll want to taste and compare all of their dynamically bold red wines. Head to their tasting room in downtown Newberg, just 15 minutes from our B&B, or, you can take your 2021 Big Red Wine Adventure a little further, to their brand-new tasting room in Amity, Oregon. Their gorgeous, covered pavilion on the estate grounds will have you wondering why you haven’t been to Oregon before now.
Newberg location open daily 12-6 and the Amity tasting room Friday – Sunday
Cana’s Feast Winery
When you visit Cana’s Feast Winery in Carlton, Oregon on your 2021 Big Red Wine Adventure, you can say you’ve been to the city with the most wine tasting rooms per capita in the United States. Nearing two dozen tasting rooms in a town of just over 2000 people, its quite impressive. Cana’s Feast Winery was one of the first wineries in this town, delivering big bold red wines – Italian, Bordeaux, and Rhone-style wines – plus Pacific Northwest Pinot Noirs, from fruit sourced in Washington vineyards. For the wine adventurer who wants to have a lot of different varietals at her fingertips (or who is striving to join the Wine Century Club), this is the place to visit.
Just a short drive from Carlton’s cute downtown area, full of fine dining restaurants, taverns, and artisan shops, Cana’s Feast winery sprawls out over the north end of town. It’s easy to let yourself relax and unwind here, especially with the newly-built pavilion on its grounds which creates a little oasis of wine-tasting luxury. With a selection of wines so large, there’s always a rotating flight, but rest assured, one of each of their four family of wines is always represented.
Reservations highly recommended. Open daily 11-5pm.
Just the beginning of Big Reds
Of course we have a few more we have to mention, starting with Sineann in St. Paul, with their fantastic selection of white wines, Pinot Noirs and big bold reds including Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs and Merlots. At Chehalem Ridge B&B, we love to make mulled wine for guests with their Old Vine Zinfandel.
Remy Wines in Dayton, Oregon inhabits a picturesque farmhouse that doubles as a tasting room and winery. Winemaker Remy Drabkin is passionate about her big bold, old world Italian varietals and her love of them translates beautifully into her 2019 Gold Star “Super Tuscan”. A juicy red that makes a wonderful accompaniment to another passion of this artful winemaker…good food!
Dominio IV Wines, a short drive outside of Carlton, gives you a tasting experience with a beautiful homestead, a refurbished 100 year old barn and a labyrinth to wander in with wine to outshine all of it. Syrah, Tempranillo, Grenache are all made here, and more. Patrick Reuter is a winemaker that brings poetry to every bottle…literally, his poetry and artwork grace the Dominio IV imagination label as he has translated his tasting notes to visual art.
With decades upon decades of hard-working vintners and artisans, wine growers and industry leaders, the Willamette Valley has evolved into a wine region that deserves more than the attention from Pinot Noir connoisseurs alone. Big red wines have found a home here, too and you owe it to yourself as a big-red-wine-lover to check out what Willamette Valley is producing.
As the wine adventurer and explorer that you are, we hope you’ll begin your 2021 Big Red Wine Adventure with a stay with us, at Chehalem Ridge B&B. At our five-room, upscale B&B, we’ll give you a hearty, gourmet 3-course breakfast to start your day off right. After your adventures, you can relax in your comfortably cozy guestroom, 1000 feet above this big, beautiful (and bold) wine country. You can even request the “Big Reds, and Pinots, Too” Itinerary from our Winery Itinerary Service and we’ll take the effort of planning out of your adventure.
By Liz Bethell, Assistant Innkeeper