31 May 2013

Memorial Day Weekend in Oregon

Memorial Day weekend is one of the two major wine tasting weekends in Willamette Valley (Oregon). We were originally hesitant to go this year, but we ultimately decided that this is probably the last time we're going to get a weekend of wine tasting for a while (several years) because Madeleine is quickly getting too active to be patient while we sip our favorite varietals and compare accompanying cheeses.

We started Saturday* (after a morning nap on the road) with a visit to Soter, which is one of our favorites in the Valley. We served their sparkling wine at our wedding and loved the tasting we did a few years ago. They hosted a nice open house in which they poured their current releases and served complimentary nibbles. I love their location and think it's one of the most beautiful in the Valley. Of course, the littlest member of our party was a big hit.

We tasted at a few other (new to us) places in Carlton and enjoyed returning to the local bistro for lunch. Between wineries and lunch and more wineries, we stopped for a swing in the local park. If this isn't the face of pure joy, I don't know what is! (This may also answer your questions about the quantity of hair on her head. There are approximately 30 hairs, but they are getting longer!)

That night, Madeleine had the quintessential Portland experience: dinner at a food cart.

On Sunday, we enjoyed three fantastic meals at three of our favorite Oregon restaurants: Mothers, Bistro Maison, and Piazza Italia. The wild mushroom and goat cheese tart from Bistro Maison goes on my short list of best flavored foods - so delicious that I won't soon forget it.

Amongst all that delicious food, we (and our friends) visited three McMinnville wineries. The first was our favorite Willamette winery (and maybe favorite favorite), Eyrie. They were pouring some new releases along with library wines from the 1980s and 1990s - what a treat! We were able to chat with the (second generation) winemaker, Jason, to get some food-pairing recommendations and advice on what wine might make it to Madeleine's 21st. Meanwhile, Madeleine decided to try to access the wine now.

Our other two Sunday wineries were past favorites and current disappointments, Panther Creek and Anne Amie.

Monday morning, we had a semi-disastrous (but still delicious) visit to a pancake restaurant before making the 188 mile drive home. Madeleine was a real trooper with all of the driving. On the way south, we made one stop for a scheduled meal and otherwise just had one episode of Madeleine frantically signing "all done" from the backseat. On the way home, she slept the entire three and a half hour (record time) drive. This was our first roadtrip with Madeleine, and it's good to know that she handles it well.

Don't worry - this was while the car was parked in a safe location.

Overall, it was a good trip and far better than our last vacation. How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend? Where did you take your last roadtrip?

*You may notice that the nice camera only came out on Saturday. Bummer!

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