Lange & Co Review
Address: 110A SW 7th St. Dundee,Oregon 97115.
Phone Number: 503-487-6370
Tasting Hours: 9:00-5:00
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 6/11/2014
Reviewer: Rob Boss
(Photos by Jai Soots)
In broad brush strokes, Domaine Trouvere, located in Oregon’s Dundee Hills AVA, is a side project of Lange Estate. But more specifically, it’s Wendy Lange’s personal project. Not having met her, one might guess that her tastes run a bit more eclectic than just the (brilliant, fantastic) Pinot Noir that’s raised and produced at Lange, and the tasting room is a different concept completely, situated above Red Hills Market in the middle of Dundee. The Market is a great place for lunch on an Oregon wine country tour. The food’s great, and you can either carry it upstairs to the tasting room or place your order and they’ll bring it up to you. It’s a good way to have a nice glass of wine with lunch. Unfortunately, it’s a very awkward way to taste a flight of wines, and despite strong efforts from the tasting room maven, our experience became a go to list of what not to do, especially at this place. So read and learn. We at American Winery Guide are here to help.
The first thing we did was order lunch and take it upstairs. I had a Pizza Margherita, and Jai ordered a Cobb salad. We waltzed into the tasting room with our lunches, plopped down at a table and announced we’d split a flight. That’s weird, but it only registered on Jen’s face for a millisecond. We started with a 2012 Viognier that showed, true to varietal, peach, lychee, and roses. It was good with Cobb salad, and a glass would have been an excellent idea. We ordered water so we could continue the flight.
At this point, we blurred a line that disconcerted the maven for a moment. A tasting room attendant is more of a host, and suddenly we were asking her to be a waiter, which is another job, attitude and animal. She couldn’t talk to us about the wine because she’d be interrupting our meal, but she was supposed to give us full attention because we were tasting room customers. Uncomfortable pauses, followed by table talk where she tried not to eavesdrop. Please don’t do this to anybody.
Up next was a 2010 Chardonnay that was full of oak and butter, peaches and pretty good with my pizza. Even better was the 2011 Sangiovese (no surprise), with a nose full of cedar and pine needles, followed by blackberry flavors. It was also good with the bacon in the Cobb salad, which brought a grin from Jen, and we all shared the “Everything’s better with bacon” joke. The ice was broken, and she wisely brought the 2010 Syrah in another glass so we could compare. With a tar and tobacco nose, black plum and licorice flavors, it went better with the Cobb. Jai kept the Syrah, and I kept the Sangiovese. Crisis deftly contained.
We finished our lunch, chatting with Jen about where we’d been and where we might go. She gave us a nice, long list of very good wineries. Some we knew, some we didn’t, some we’d heard about and were confirmed as good. Jen shifted gears again, into concierge mode, but not before pouring us a taste of Kissy Fish White. The name alone is worth a smile. It’s a blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris, with a bit of residual sugar and a slight petrole note in the nose. Everybody has that relative who prefers sweet wine, and this is one we can all enjoy with them on our respective levels. Or just toss it back on a hot summer night. That works well, too.
So, let’s review: When tasting wines, taste wines. When having lunch, have lunch. Don’t mix the two beyond asking a competent tasting room maven what she would pair with your meal. We had the best possibility before us and missed it. We did, however, get to see a qualified professional salvage an uncomfortable situation with aplomb. That’s always good to see, but it’s best not to be the reason for it.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about the wine: The wine was quite good and we took some home (see sweet wine/relative, above). Not knowing immediately that Domaine Trouvere was related to Lange was a pleasant surprise. We’d have liked it anyway, and when all was said and done, this was a great tasting room experience.
Just don’t do it like we did.