Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn Review
Address: 10660 Youngberg Hill Rd. McMinnville,Oregon 97128.
Phone Number: 503-472-2727
Tasting Hours: Apr-Nov: 10:00-4:00; Dec-Mar and groups of 6 or more: by appt.
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, McMinnville AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Jade Helm
Review Date: 4/12/2014
Reviewer: Jade Helm
The great thing about Youngberg Hill is you don’t actually HAVE to leave. The vineyard has an onsite inn featuring well-appointed rooms and suites, fireplaces, jacuzzis, and fabulous views. Guests of the inn enjoy a full gourmet breakfast featuring regional, seasonal foods including pears poached in Youngberg Hill’s own Pinot Noir. Wayne and his wife Nicolette are happy to make recommendations and assist with reservations for area attractions. Maps and sightseeing information are available on the website.
We agree with Wayne though. Why would you want to go anywhere else? The tasting room is situated in the common area of the inn. Tasting room guests are invited to enjoy the covered decks that completely surround the inn. The style is wine country charming. Family photos decorate the walls, and if you are lucky you will run into Wayne and Nicolette’s three daughters Natasha, Jordan, and Aspen. The day we visited, the girls had a measuring tape stretched out to properly plant edible flowers to decorate the breakfast plates. Their laughter was the only sound in this serene setting.
Of course there is the wine. Wayne, both vineyard manager and winemaker, often leads guests through the tasting himself and explains the terroir and vintage. The current tasting list includes Pinot Blanc, a Cuvee of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir bottled separately from the Jordan and Natasha blocks, and a Barrel Select Pinot Noir. The estate Pinot Gris is sold out. The differences in the Jordan and Natasha Pinot Noir are striking – especially considering they are only 200 yards apart.
Both the Natasha and Jordan blocks are planted with 25 year old ungrafted Pinot Noir. Jordan sits at a higher elevation above the treeline and gets the full coastal breeze. Temperatures are 2-3 degrees lower and this block is picked last (Nov. 2nd in 2011). The Jordan block is characterized by darker fruits, earthy flavors, higher acids and tannins. The Natasha block is grown in a marine sedimentary soil that holds more moisture. Vines develop a larger canopy which results in spicy notes (white and black pepper) in the wine.
The wines reflect the terroir because of Wayne’s farming philosophies. Exposed to holistic farming in Burgundy, Wayne sought the opportunity to grow Pinot Noir in a way that respects the balance of nature. Youngberg Hill practices biodynamic viticulture. Biodynamics is like organic on steroids (if steroids were chemical free). “My goal is to improve the soil and to produce better and healthier grapes and therefore make better wine. The more I take a holistic approach the more distinctive the wines will be in regards to informing where the wines come from (the terroir of his vineyard).”
For Wayne this is no marketing strategy. It is about the land, the wine, and his family. Speaking about his daughters, “I want to leave this farm to them and better than I found it. I walk the vines every day, and as the French would say The best fertilizer is your footprint.'” Visit Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn and add your footprint. The Bailey’s will be happy to have you.