A fitting beginning to a series on Washington County tasting rooms is David Hill Winery. According to their website, David Hill Winery is NOT named for one of the founding fathers of Hillsboro; the winery actually takes its name from the hill itself, which was known as “David’s Hill” for Frederick David, a Forest Grove pioneer. Set in a farmhouse from the late 1800’s, the winery offers outdoor picnic areas with sweeping views of the hills west of Forest Grove. Even the romantic poets would call the setting “bucolic”. There are also many surrounding area activities to take advantage of before or after visiting the winery, such as Forest Glen Park or Hagg Lake.
There’s a little bit of the obsessive-compulsive in the fussiness of Michele Andrich’s tasting room at David Hill Winery; each one of her planned tastings is as orchestrated as a string quartet. For example, her chocolate and pinot noir pairings for Valentine’s Day are planned to the order in which they should be tasted. In so doing, Michele provides her expertise in creating the one-plus-one-equals-three taste experience. Of course the wines and the chocolates can be enjoyed separately; however, together they create the entirely new sensation of their tastes together.
On an ordinary day the tastings are less fussy, but still Michele, Christy and the staff can be relied on for recommendations for tasting order, or for knowledge of the wines produced onsite and locally. The vineyard has the oldest pinot noir vines in the Willamette Valley, and their pedigree is palpable. Brought from California in 1965, some of the original vines are still producing. Each year produces different types of pinot noir, and the Hill produces two tabletop wines in red and white that make fine complements to any everyday meal. Reds also include a Merlot, and white wines run from the sweet to the sublime, specifically a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris or Blanc and the unbelievably smooth unoaked Chardonnay. Dessert wines include two ports, one of which is made from Pinot Noir grapes. A full list of available wines is on their website. Membership in a quarterly wine club is available and offers discounts on purchases and special releases.
A recent visit to the Room provided an insight on some of the better wines for tasting, and an upcoming release. Wine club manager Christy Wilson was on hand to answer some questions. What’s the best wine to taste in the room right now? The Estate Reserve Pinot Noir ’07, which is complex enough to touch every part of the palate, and which has a pleasant, long-lasting finish. What wines are available now? Everything is available now except the Tempranillo and the Pinot Port, both of which are currently sold out. The Muscat Port is available and is one of the few, if not the only, white port produced in the area. What’s coming up? The 2010 Pinot Gris, which recently scored a 93, though the release date is currently unknown. What’s good about the David Hill Wine Club? The winery releases to Wine Club members special vintages, such as the 2008 BlackJack Pinot Noir, which is made from the original Block 21 vines brought from California. It recently scored a 93 as well. Only 150 cases are available, and only wine club members get first access to a great varietal that will no doubt sell quickly. What events are you hosting soon? On August 10, 2012 is one of our Summer Concerts, with Rob Stroup and the Blame. The concert starts at 6pm, the cost is $10 per person. In addition to our wines, beer and James Gang BBQ will be available for purchase.