Plum Hill Vineyards Review
Address: 6505 SW Old Highway 47 Gaston,Oregon 97119.
Phone Number: 503-359-4706
Tasting Hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day: Mon-Sat 11:00-6:00, Sun 12:00-6:00 Labor Day to Memorial Day: Mon-Sat 11:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-5:00
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 10/12/2013
Reviewer: Rob Boss
(Photos by Jai Soots)
Enthusiasm goes a long way. In fact, its often contagious and carries weight of its own. Such is the case at Plum Hill Vineyards in Gaston, Oregon. Walk up the steps from the parking lot to the tasting room and interested tasters will be amused by the fountain that seems to spout wine into a glass. Enter the tasting room and theres a barrage of every imaginable wine accessory, from the most practical to the most kitschy and everythingreally, everythingin between. Depending on your point of view, its either well-stocked or cluttered, but one thing is certain: these are people who love wine and love everything about it.
The wines were presented with food of various sorts and the flavor pairings were often interesting and spot on. Hazlenuts were served with the 2011 Plum Hill Chardonnay. Buttered toast was the prevailing aromatic, with a touch of butter and a very direct Granny Smith apple flavor in the mouth.
A crispy vanilla wafer was served with their 2011 Oaked Pinot Gris. While it didnt do much for the very shy nose, it brought up the vanilla and nutmeg flavors in the wine. While the wine itself was not exceptional, the pairing was more than the sum of its parts and made it easy to see how well it could work with food.
Next up was a mocha wafer and the 2011 Pinot Noirwhich they call their “Patio Pinot.” Theres a cherry pie nose, with a tart cherry and mineral flavor to follow. Its unassuming and an easy drinker.
The 2010 Barrel Select that followed entered with a blast of volatile acidity and faded with dried cherry flavors for the palateand not much else. The 2011 Barrel Select was cloudy in the glass, closed and shy in the nose, with a dry, dusty, chewy cherry flavor profile. Neither was on par with the rest of the lineup, despite the higher price.
Most of that was overlooked when our tasting room maven poured the 2011 Winemaker Barrel Select. An engaging nose of forest floor and crushed cherry led to a palate laced with dried fruit and sage.
Theres a small, fenced area for dogs to play while their owners are tasting; a considerate touch for four legged friends (although on the hot day we were there, some shade would have been in orderbut it was mid-week and empty). The building blocks are there and the winery is clearly committed, so perhaps Plum Hill is worth a visit. Theyre one of those Oregon wineries that can be classified as “up and coming,” and tasters would do well to keep tabs on them over the coming years. If they really do hit their stride, Plum Hill will be one of those great, well kept secrets that wine lovers want to know about. But the hard line of all this is despite the enthusiasm, the wine isnt there yet, at least not now. Thats not to say that they wont, and many wineries have gone through that cost/benefit dark night of the soul. This is a good one to wait till later.