Category Archives: On-Site

Maryhill Wine Pickup

So, kittens.  The Maryhill wine club pickup had turned into a circus.  Jam-packed with people and really not as much fun as it oughter be.  In fact, if you’re like me (and I know I am) you’d think twice about jamming yourself through that grinder again to pick up wine.

The smart people at Maryhill have clearly picked up on the issue and they’ve made some changes.  As of this last pickup club members pick a time and get a short tour of the winery, including snacks (we love snacks) and a barrel tasting.

A bit chilly out, but the Gorge and Joyce are both still quite lovely:


Remember kids, if you’re thinking of crawling in here, ask your parents first.

The lab, mysterious substances waiting…

Here’s some secret winery stuff.  They are equating the sections of the cellar to positions on a pirate ship.  No, I did not ask why.

Joyce shows us some moves.

…and here we are!

2017 Truffle Shuffle – Brittan and Winderlea

The next stop on the 2017 Truffle Shuffle was at the combined tasting room of Brittan Yineyards and Winderlea Yineyard and Winery


The interior is a bit ultramodern for our tastes, but was full of happy people having a good time. They probably wouldn’t want to hear this, but the most memorable part of this stop was the truffle cheese and truffle salami they were serving. The staff was too busy for us to find out where they found these fine items, but I can assure you, these truffle-y wonder nuggets were salty taste nuggets of joy!

2017 Truffle Shuffle – Dominio IV

And it’s Dominio IV for the Truffle Shuffle win!

it says LOVE

In truth, there were no losers on the Truffle Shuffle path through McMinville, but Dominio hit it on all cylinders.  Delicious red wines, attractive space, friendly staff and excellent truffle snacks, as you’ll see below!

Dominio IV’s wines are also biodynamic, which in our opinion is even *better* than organic.  Why?  In short, organic strives to grow food without the use of chemical additives, etc, and of course we believe that is good.  Biodynamic takes that a step further … in short a system in balance manages pests, soil fertility, etc without much additives of any kind.

For additional fun, check out our visit to El Toledo, biodynamic coffee farm in Costa Rica.   They were once a “traditional” coffee farm until the pesticides nearly killed the owner.  Long story short, they’ve developed a biodynamic farm that today is more like a native forest that happens to have a lot of coffee plants.


The walls are adorned by art from the winemaker which attempts to show visually what happens on your palette as their wines cross your tongue.  Fun and unique!





Our lovely and helpful hosts today were LJ on the left and Nicci on the right.  LJ was pouring and Nicci chef’d on up the delightful truffle snacks!  The best combo of the day!



We found the site of these barrels stacked by the giant agricultural building quite visually attractive.

Joyce prefers this photo to the one above, which I prefer, so you get to see both.

…and after all the beauty, here’s a bland industrial photo, just to even things out.

2017 Truffle Shuffle – Remy Wines

Our second stop of the 2017 McMinville Truffle Shuffle was Remy Wines.

As frequent readers may know, we’re more fans of the heartier reds than the lighter pinots that rule the Willamette Valley.  Remy specializes in european styles and they are ready to drink!  Our favorite this visit was the Nebbiolo.

Her tasting room is also “da bomb”, as the kids once said.  Very comfy to hang out in with knowledgeable and pleasant staff.

The only blemish on this visit was the truffle risotto.  While indeed creamy, didn’t seem to have any truffle in it.  Oh well.


Running the Sherry Obstacle Course

Found this here on the walled garden of Instagram:

This weekend we ran the Sherry Obstacle Course at Pix Patisserie.

Sherry is an unusual wine product.  It comes from one particular grape thats only grown in one particular region of Spain.  Why is it unusual – the same grape is used to produce a wide variety of end products, from what we’d think of as a very light white wine to dark desert wine.

I’ve had the fortunate to spend some time in Sherry country, and I’ll tell you this much: it’s a good product and you’ll come to like it in about two seconds flat.


Mike and Jen showing us how to have fun.



And here was our reward: snax!


Instead of doing something practical, like having a tap at the bottom of the barrels to tap the sherry for tasting, Sherry makers follow the traditional method of sampling through the top of the keg.  Example:


It’s a bit tricky to pour into a tiny glass…


Seems like a overcomplicated way to do it, though it definitely shows off your skills.


They encouraged us to participate in their social networking thingie.  So here it is:

Betsy Rose and Sokol Blosser

Hey kids, this is the way it goes.  Half the fun is going to these places is that they are often beautiful and a joy to experience.  Sure they sell stuff that’s often quite nice as well, but if it was just about the product, we could save the time and gas and walk two blocks to the store.

Our final visit this trip was Sokol Blosser.  I still love the name.  I don’t know what it means, but it sounds like some kind of sumo-wrestler Norwegian death-metal band.  “SOKOL BLOSSER!!!! OOOOOOOAAAOAOAOAOHDOFAHOFHOAOAOAOAOAOAOA!!!!!”

Here’s the deal with Sokol Blosser.  They’re all Pinot.  Joyce and I find pinot to be somewhat bland, on the whole.  Other people enjoy them, but to me the Sokol Blosser  $15 general red is a better deal than their entry-level $70 pinot bottle.

Their new tasting building – gorgeous, except it’s so new it actually stinks of pine wood.  This is where we should have some science about how scent affects taste, you’ll just have to google that on your own time.    Let me tell you this – the view up there is awesome.  Joe-Bob says, “Check it out!”

soko-2 soko-1

How did we get here anyway?

betsy rose

Here we are pulling into The Vintages “RV Resort” with Betsy Rose, our 1961 Shasta Airflyte reissue camper.  She’s brand-new, built in 2015 but 95% true to the 1961 design.  The Vintages is fun because they have a whole selection of vintage trailers to rent.  Quite fun!