Willamette Valley Wine Country
More than 200 wineries—among them some of the country’s top producers of Pinot Noir—are spread across this lush river valley, just a 45-minute drive from downtown Portland. In the Yamhill-Carlton district AVA (American Viticutural Area), a rural area characterized by sweeping hillsides and intimate, small-scale wineries, check out WillaKenzie Estate (503-662-3280; www.willakenzie.com), and Penner-Ash Wine Cellars (503-554-5545; www.pennerash.com), both of which have gorgeous settings and award-winning vintages. The Dundee Hills district AVA can get a bit more crowded, but it’s home to several gems, including Archery Summit (503-864-4300; www.archerysummit.com) and Sokol Blosser Winery (503-864-2282; www.sokolblosser.com).
Tip: Finish your day of wine tasting with dinner at one of the region’s exceptional restaurants. In tiny Carlton, Cuvée (214 West Main Street; 503-852-6555; www.cuveedining.com; open Wednesday–Sunday) serves perfectly executed country French fare in a diminutive storefront space. On the west side of the valley in Dundee, sample local, creatively prepared seafood and produce at Tina’s (760 Highway 99W; 503-538-8880; www.tinasdundee.com).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.