Posting some info on Facebook today got me thinking! I wanted to know from our Albany Visitor's Association Facebook fans what someone visiting this region could do for fun on a 300 dollar budget. Well...we got a few comments and for some reason, they all involved wine. It's kind of a given in these parts that when you come to the Willamette Valley, you are coming to taste our wine. Is there really any other reason to come??? Of course there's your family and friends to visit. There's hiking in majestic forests, there's gazing at our awesome waterfalls, shopping our antique shops, eating our most delicious food and yeah...the wine tasting kind of falls in there just about anywhere!
Today we were on the I 5 in California driving back to Oregon. I noticed all the vineyards that have cropped up in the past few years. Driving back and forth for almost 5 years now, you learn the lay of the land pretty well and yeah...these vineyards are pretty new. Someone must have figured that wine is pretty hot stuff and they wanted in on the game. For me...I love my Oregon wine but I'll never turn down a good California wine either.
I was watching a video recently that showed a hot air balloon gliding over wine country in the Willamette Valley. I couldn't believe it when I learned that in some areas of the valley, wine grapes cannot be grown because the soil is so rich. Huh?...are you serious? Well...we do pride ourselves on our soil here in Oregon. We love that it provides our fruit with the "right" kind of nutrients to give us some of the best ingredients for wine making in the world. Yes...that's right!...the world. We are pretty awesome when it comes to our wines. And it's even better when you have someone with you that knows a lot about Oregon wine. And, even more better than that if they know about pairing the "right" wine with the "right" food. And, here in Oregon, and especially in fine dining digs all over the valley, they aren't hard to find.
My fav...Oregon's Pinot Noirs. Yes, I have my most favs but give me a "really good" Pinot Noir that has that nutty, spicy, smokey taste with a perfect fruit finish and I'm good to go. The way all the flavors kind of melt in your mouth as you let it glide and slide and savor each moment of the taste. Yes...it's awesome that way. And if you are wondering how you find that "really good" Pinot Noir, just ask Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa taught me how to know when something is "really good!" She says that you buy 3 or 4 of what you think is the best of the best. You try, you taste and you sample each and when you find the "one" that tastes the best, that's the "really good" one. You can use this technique when finding the perfect butter, finishing salts or anything you love cooking with for that matter. It's a matter of taste!
Now having said all of this...I'm tired of typing and ready for tasting! Find me this weekend at one or our local Willamette Valley wineries. Or, find me at one our very delightful dining digs right here in downtown Albany. Or, you may even find me on the porch of our inn swinging away and sipping my fav Pinot.