David Hill Vineyards & Winery Review
Address: 46350 NW David Hill Rd. Forest Grove,Oregon 97116.
Phone Number: 503-992-8545
Tasting Hours: 12:00-5:00
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 9/14/2013
Reviewer: Rob Boss
(Photos by Jai Soots)
Named for its location, David Hill Winery plays up one of the best views of the valley by sharing its history. The tasting room resides in a 150 year old house, filled with 100 year old pictures of grape vines. The next part of the tale is a tragedy: those vines were pulled up during Prohibition and replaced with potatoes. Pinot Noir was again planted in 1965 and a few of those vines are still producing; a happy ending of sorts.
Our tasting started with the entry level Cumberland White Table Wine, a non-vintage blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The nose was a little shy, vegetal and herbaceous but the bright acidity and straightforward Granny Smith apple flavors were crisp and refreshing. It was a perfect wine for a warm day. Moving up the line with the 2012 Estate Pinot Gris brought more complexity to the table. On paper, the wines are very similar; vegetal, herbaceous, bright green apple flavors, but this wine is more intense and focused, with the added note of honeysuckle. Both were high quality and well-priced.
Up the line and better still was the 2011 Riesling. There was a hint of wet stone in the nose but also fresh apple notes to balance the minerality. Fresh fruit flavors were in abundance; green apples, pears and nectarines, with a long, tart finish. This would be a terrific fooder.
Now into the reds: 2010 was a challenging year for Oregon wineries but the ones who got it right ended up with beautiful wines. David Hills Estate Pinot Noir showed briars, dill, pine needles and forest floor in the nose. After that, cherries, raspberries and cherry pie spice on the palate.
2009 was a warmer year that showed broad, red brush strokes in the first releases. Four years later (two years in the bottle, more or less), and the 09s are starting to show a little better. The Estate Reserve Pinot Noir benefitted from thirty year old vines and 24 months in the barrel. Though shy, there was a cherry pie nose. After that, cherries and cherry pie flavors but a wonderfully long finish made it special.
The oldest vines on the property are in the Blackjack vineyard block, planted in 1965. The 2009 Blackjack was aged 26 months in oak and showed big, intense, cooked cherry and fruit flavors in the nose and on the palate. The extra bottle time has helped but it still wasnt fully mature. Two or three years will be magic.
Not tasted on our visit was what brought us there in the first place: David Hill Winerys Farm House Red. This non-vintage blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Counoise is absolutely a steal at $12, list price. Its soft, fruity, full of easy drinking cherry and berry flavors. Having enjoyed literally gallons of it over they years, I recommend it whole heartedly. Its a bargain that almost upstages its more expensive siblings in terms of value.
There are great places to picnic on the grounds and in a step up from most tasting rooms, David Hill Winery offers meats and cheeses for your lunch, and of course, a great bottle of wine to go with it (the Farmhouse and Cumberland are both $12, so you can still buy an Estate to add to your collection). Its a gorgeous place to find some good wine at reasonable prices. Take some extra time here, before heading to your next Willamette Valley destination.