Several invitations had popped up in my inbox for private events at wineries prior to the Wine Blogger’s Conference. Unfortunately, for the most part, they were all happening on the Thursday we would be at the Salem pre-conference excursion. One of the invitations came from Youngberg Hill. We had several days planned for touring the Willamette Valley prior to the conference so Thea arranged for us to visit Youngberg Hill on Tuesday, the day before we were to leave for Salem. Owner, Wayne Bailey was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to have us over for our own tasting and lunch.
Youngberg Hill is located in the lovely town of McMinnville, Oregon. The property sits high up on a hill, surrounded by vineyards and breathtaking views. In addition to being a winery, Youngberg Hill also has an Inn on the property containing eight charming guest rooms and suites. From the moment you step onto the property, you are swept away with the beautiful scenery and feel a sense of calm and tranquility.
Youngberg Hill prides itself on adopting sustainable, organic, and biodynamic practices in their farming. Wayne firmly believes that this attributes to the success in his award-winning wines. The property is in an ideal location for growing Pinot Noir. Being only 25 miles from the ocean allows it to benefit from the unique marine climate with more rainfall, more sunny days, and cooler temperatures than the rest of the valley. All these factors come into play in producing their elegant wines.
Our afternoon began with Wayne warmly greeting us and sharing the history of Youngberg Hill. We then had a private tasting with him of his wines. One of the wines that stood out was his 2011 Aspen Pinot Gris. This wine was named after his daughter Aspen. I have tasted a lot of Oregon Pinot Gris and I have to admit, this is one of the best ones I have tasted. It was bursting with flavor and had a freshness and crisp acidity to it that was unlike any other Oregon Pinot Gris I have ever tasted. It was a perfect wine to sip on outside on the deck. We also tasted through his 2011 Pinot Blanc and his Pinot Noir. He also has two other daughters, Natasha and Jordan, whom two of his Pinots are named after. His 2009 Natasha Pinot Noir was another favorite for me. This was an elegant wine filled with luscious cherry, blueberry, rhubarb, and spice, all balanced with nice acidity. His entire lineup of wines was very impressive. I definitely left with some bottles to take home with me.
After we tasted through the wines, Wayne had arranged for a lovely lunch to be prepared for us and to be enjoyed outside on the deck. We each got a pour of our favorite wine to enjoy with lunch. It was an easy choice for me. I went with a glass of the Pinot Gris. We spent a leisurely, beautiful afternoon on the deck, having lunch, taking in the magnificent views, and enjoying wonderful wines. It was an absolutely perfect afternoon in Oregon wine country.
My next visit to Oregon wine country will definitely include another visit to Youngberg Hill, only this time I plan on spending a night or two at the Inn so I can have more time to enjoy the lovely property. I highly recommend a visit to Youngberg Hill if you are planning a trip to the Willamette Valley and I also highly recommend the wines. You will be in for a special treat when you visit. Wayne and his family will welcome you with gracious hospitality and you will enjoy wonderful wines and magnificent views of the Willamette Valley.
Do connect with Youngberg Hill on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with all their latest news. You can also learn more about them (and subscribe) via their blog. if you are interested in booking a stay at the Inn, reservations can be made on their website.
A very special thank you to Wayne for hosting us and providing a very memorable experience for us. I eagerly await my next visit to Youngberg Hill during my next visit to Oregon. Until the next time friends.