I left New Orleans on Saturday to meet with Aryn in Portland to kick off our month-long trip through the West Coast. While sitting near the window of the plane, I could see gorges, plateaus, cliffs, forests and sometimes a house in the middle of nowhere. As the plane descended into Portland's airport, the difference between this city and the one I'd left couldn't have been more stark. The area is green, hilly and beautiful without the usual blight one generally finds surrounding airports.
The next morning we headed to Willamette Valley to visit White Rose Estate. We made a right onto McDougall Road from the Pacific Highway, going up twisting roads when I suddenly said to Aryn, "stop the car!". She pulled over to the side and to the right of us was a gorgeous vista of grapevine groves, rust-colored soil carpeting verdant hills and, in the distance, the snowy peak of Mount Hood while, further still, through a haze, the summit of Mount Saint Helens. .
When I got to try the wine from this region, I wanted to ask so many questions. Of course I kept my mouth shut and nodded as taster pours were made into my bell-shaped glass. We walked the property and I grabbed a handful of the rust-colored soil, letting its soft grains sift between my fingers. I tried sniffing it to see if there was some quality about it that I could taste in my wine but I couldn't. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to look for. Was it "earthiness"? I wanted to get closer to what it was I was drinking and the history of the agriculture that brought this wine to us. This was only my first day in wine country. I hope to learn a lot more.
If you have any recommendations, just list them in the comments. Thanks!