After our afternoon in the Bethel Heights soil pits, it was time to wash up and partake in the OPC annual salmon bake. Skewering large salmon fillets on wood planks and roasting over an open fire (as seen above)..then feasting!
This year’s OPC salmon bake was hosted by Stoller Vineyards. Located smack dab in the middle of the Dundee Hills AVA, Stoller produces a range of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot noir rose. They are also the first gold LEED certified winery in the United States.
Pursuing and attaining this certification says mountains about the commitment Bill and Cathy Stoller have towards making a positive impact on the planet. Building a winery towards attaining LEED certification takes time, money and serious planning. Thank you Stoller vineyards for being such trailblazers and setting the bar so high when it comes to winegrowing, winemaking and a clean and healthy environment.
As myself and the other campers scampered around from table to table tasting wines and chatting it up, I grabbed a glass of 2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling. I have to admit that over the course of 3 days I tasted, re-tasted, then saddled up to the table for yet another taste of this lively white. Crisp and bright, with great acidity and nuances of fuji apple, pear and white peaches, this Riesling is a steal at $14 a bottle. Such a deal!
With my glass of Riesling in hand, I headed over to watch the salmon bake prep in action. This culinary tradition has deep roots throughout the pacific northwest. For centuries, Native American Indian tribes like the Makah, S’Klallam and Umpqua would spear freshly caught salmon on cedar or ironwood planks and roast the fish to perfection over hot coals. This Summer 2010 at Stoller vineyards was no different, except that we’d get to drink some pretty amazing wines with this culinary treat.
Like this 1987 Pinot Gris aged to perfection from Eyrie Vineyards, located in the Dundee Hills AVA. Eyrie Vineyards is one of the Willamette Valleys’ true originals. It is considered by many to be the “birthplace” of Oregon pinot noir as it was founded when the region was truly in its infancy back in the mid 1960s. This is where it all began..when David Lett, a recent viticulture and enology grad of UC Davis, planted the first pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris cuttings in the region. Papa Pinot, as David Lett came to be known, was a visionary, and he is greatly respected by everyone who knows and appreciates wines from this region.
At 23 years of age, this pinot gris (incidently, Lett was the first to plant this varietal in the USA) was nowhere near tired. What a treat to taste a wine made by the man himself, Papa Pinot.
NEXT: Oregons’ Cool Climate Whites