Pinot plump and almost ripe, almost sweet and almost ready for the plucking hung heavy on the grapevines lining the field, north and south. Unlike Northern Californian Pinots, Oregonian ones from 2008 are perfect as can be. The Willamette Valley is known for growing prime Pinot Noir grapes. These vineyards don’t get too hot and get coated with perfect pre-dusk mist that keeps the temperamental fruit happy and yummy.
A few weeks ago, I downloaded “The Oregon Trail” iPhone app and took the nostalgic Westward journey to where else? The Willamette Valley. I used to play this game back in the fourth grade. The Hunny Bunny and I joked and said that there should be “The Oregon Trail – WINO edition.”
“Would you like medicine for your son Jack’s Dysentery or a bottle of Pinot?”
Oh, my poor little Jack. He’d never make it to Oregon with my kind of choices.
Our first stop in Ducks country was Pfeiffer Vineyards, a family owned facility in the southern part of the valley. We were greeted by the Danuta Pfeiffer, wife of Robin Pfeiffer, the man responsible for planting the first seedlings converting his father’s sheep farm into a full-fledged vineyard in 1983 – one of the first to grow Pinot Noir in the area. According to Danuta (and their website), some French wine merchants who inquired about the land was responsible for tipping off Robin that theirs was ideal Pinot growing grounds. This was in 1983.
Most of Pfeiffer Vineyard grapes are sold to a larger bottler while the rest is exclusively available for sale under their label at the winery. Danuta was especially proud of their wine, which was included in the menu of President Obama’s inaugural gala. We thought Pfeiffer wine was approachable, but the price tag – about $60 per bottle, wasn’t that great of a value. We did buy a bottle of Chardonnay for $25.