Blanc is the new black, or more accurately, the new noir. At least that’s what they are saying in Paris, New York, London and of course, Oregon wine country. The French have been making Blanc de noir for centuries, a style of sparkling Champagne made into a colorless wine—and created exclusively from dark grapes (Pinot noir and Pinot munier). French wine is often the inspiration for new wine endeavors in Oregon. Consequently, a handful of Oregon producers decided to give the Blanc a whirl, but with one big omission: no bubbles.
The non-effervescent venture was a success. The trail blazer, Domaine Serene, is set to release their seventh vintage of the glistening, white Pinot this year. Others have followed suit with great success. Anne Amie and Ghost Hill both have Pinot noir blanc currently available and Matello will be releasing their first Blanc de noir in May. Oregon Riesling superstar, Trisaetum Winery and Vineyards, is one of the latest to turn noir to blanc with their inaugural release of the 2010 Pinot noir blanc.
With customers as their muses, the folks at Trisaetum decided to dive in after their club members repeatedly asked for the wine. “My co-winemaker Greg McClellan and I decided we’d use some of our leanings from making six different Rieslings each year, and apply them to making a white wine from Pinot noir clusters,” said James Frey, co-winemaker and proprietor of Trisaetum Winery.
Pristine beauty, tide pools and seafood— the Oregon Coast is a world unto itself, and perfect location for a weekend getaway. Explore by car, and travelers soon find that Oregon’s coastal Highway 101 is a treasure trove of quaint fishing towns embedded with rivers, state parks and waysides. Luxuriate in Newport’s Oregon Coast Aquarium, Lincoln City’s Kite Festival, Bandon’s world-class golf courses, Seaside’s shoreline promenade and Cannon Beach’s haven of artists, cooks, collectors, connoisseurs and choices for lodging. And if checking out and exploring the coast by foot sounds like your type of coastal getaway, explore the smaller beach hamlets of Manzanita, Neskowin, Oceanside, Netarts and Yachats, where visitors can beach comb for shells, floats and other goodies that drift in from all over the world.
Spend your vacation or weekend getaway in Portland, Oregon—the premiere spot for arts and odditites. From its craft beers, neighborhood pubs and coffee, to its locavore dining and, of course, bikes, Portland is the Northwest’s culture cauldron and creative den. Experience Portland’s culinary brilliance in multiple eateries scattered throughout the city while taking in its thriving arts scene chock-full of writers, painters, filmmakers, dancers, musicians and performance artists. Also get the most out of your visit and explore Portland by foot, bike or public transportation—either way, you’ll get a full dose of its ‘Portlandia’ character and receive local praise for going ‘green.’
If it’s wind-blown, then it happens in the Columbia River Gorge, from windsurfing to kiteboarding and down-winder stand-up paddling. Add to that Oregon’s premiere destination for skiing—Mt. Hood, a winter oasis for the snow obsessed. Tailored around the active traveler, both places offer a plethora of things to do. Hike to waterfalls, then soak in a mineral bath. Take a snowboarding lesson, then settle down to a couple of local microbrews. Mountain bike through a fir forest or sagebrush, then sample wines or eat sushi. Sports, scenery and aweinspiring geology—get them all in this region of Oregon.
Unrefined and outback, Eastern Oregon may be. Still, there are not too many wide open spaces left in this world like this experience-rich region of Eastern Oregon. There’s unmatched camping in the desert, horseback riding in the Steens Mountain Wilderness, horse-pack camping into the Wallowas and rivers to float, but Eastern Oregon’s true resource is its people—from sunstone mining and raising grass-fed beef to the Pendleton Round-Up. Open spaces and open faces are waiting to greet you in Eastern Oregon.
Lose your head and find your heart in Southern Oregon. This vast region encomapsses a top-notch Elizabethan outdoor stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the up-and-coming wine-growing regions of the Umpqua and Applegate valleys, and, to the east, Crater Lake. If you decide to spend your Oregon vacation here, don’t forget to float the Rogue, attend Paisley’s famed Mosquito Festival, tour some Southern Oregon caves, wine taste in rustic Roseburg and explore Ashland’s chocolate culture. And if time permits, make a day of it at Mt. Ashland either skiing or snowboarding.
The Willamette Valley is known for its fantastic Pinot noir and blanc, its fertile farmland and its state universities—University of Oregon in Eugene and Oregon State University in Corvallis. The rolling hills and wet side of the Cascades bring Oregon much of her bounty from the earth. Pass through this region, and you’ll likely find yourself taking back a few glasses of wine over a delicious meal made with ingredients from the farm next door. Plan your Oregon getaway in these parts and prepare yourself for lush scenery, hints of a ‘Ducks vs. Beavers’ rivalry, good food, even better wine, and opportunities for hiking, biking and kayaking.
The legendary floating and fly-fishing destination, the Deschutes River, runs through Central Oregon. Along its banks, you’ll find world-class mountain bike trails, alpine and Nordic skiing, some of the state’s best beers and an unusually sophisticated populus for being out in the high desert of Oregon. Hit the slopes at Mt. Bachelor for a perfect winter getaway in Bend or choose Central Oregon as your next summer vacation to hike, bike, fish or paddle anything that can handle the unlimited amount of lakes and rivers dispersed throughout this area.