Van Duzer Vineyards Review
Address: 11975 Smithfield Rd. Dallas,Oregon 97338.
Phone Number: 503-623-6420
Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00 all year, seven days a week, or by appointment
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 6/26/2012
Reviewer: Rob Boss
The Van Duzer Corridor is a break in the mountains of Oregons Coastal Range on the west side of the Willamette Valley. This provides an open window for Pacific winds to cool crops of Pinot Noir grapes as they grow and ripen toward their higher calling. Its from this geographic deviation that Van Duzer Vineyards takes its name.
In the tasting room, a knowledgeable, professional staff guides tasters through flights of up to seven different wines, some of which are not Oregon grown. The opener was a 2011 Pinot Gris, a more straightforward wine that exhibited tart Granny Smith apple aromas and flavors.
A lovely, light, pale salmon color imbues the 2011 Rose. There was pink grapefruit on the nose, along with strawberries and young raspberry flavors. Its a nicely balanced wine with crisp acidity that pairs well with cool summer foods.
Moving on to Pinot Noir, which is the name of the game in the Willamette Valley, the 2009 Van Duzer Estate showed dark, ripe cherry flavors on the nose and palette. There was a nice touch of spice and a layer of black plums. The wine only spends eleven months in oak barrels, but they hold it a full six months after bottling, which gives it an extra element of refinement.
Wadenswill is a strain of Pinot Noir that offers exquisite arromatics. Its challenging in Oregon because it often ripens too slowly and doesnt mature before harvest. The 100% Wadenswill 2008 Flagpole Vineyard Pinot Noir showcases everything wonderful about this rare beast. The nose was full of beautiful, delicate crushed cherries and raspberries, and an earthy, briar note. There was the silky cherry mouth feel associated with Oregons finest, and a gorgeous, lingering finish. Its a startling ruby color that seems to glow across the room. This one alone was worth the trip, and its important to know that it will soon be going away for awhile. The vines were replanted this year, again with Wadenswill, and will not be producing again until 2015. Judging from this tasting, the 2010 and 2011 vintages should be extraordinary.
In the interest of changing things up a little, our tasting room guide poured the 2007 Sorcery Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is brought up from vineyards in St. Helena California (owned by the same people). The dark aromas of plums and cherries, black and red plum flavors, figs, cocoa and espresso notes were a great change of pace after a day of Pinot Noir tasting. It was a good call by our host, who showed the height of professionalism to every guest in the busy tasting room.
Theres an element of fun in the tastefully appointed visitors center and surrounding grounds. The color scheme matches the busy Van Duzer label (featuring Zephyr, goddess of the west wind), including kitschy stars on the ceiling but nothing goes over the topeven the restrooms are perfect. Its a playful elegance that spills out onto the patio, surrounded with a collection of mesmerizing kinetic sculptures and amazing views. Picnics are encouraged, and with all of this, Van Duzer Vineyards is an easy place to linger an extra hour.