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Wine Tasting by Bicycle August 31, 2010

Posted by stacyb17 in Excursions.
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Elk Cove

Elk Cove Vineyard

It was supposed to be just another ride around Hagg Lake from the Grand Lodge on Sunday. But we were all tired and not really feeling it so my friend Mandy suggested we hit a couple of wineries and take it easy. Sounded like a great idea! Except the taking it easy part didn’t exactly work out.

We started 4 miles into the ride at Montinore Winery. They charge $5 for 5 tastes which is pretty standard in the Willamette Valley. At Montinore, however, you get to choose your wines from a list of 10 or so. Their Pinots are decent and their Pinot Noir chocolate sauce is to die for! You can ask for a sample. The staff are super friendly and very knowledgeable (I learned a lot about the difference between Hungarian and French oak).

From Montinore we decided to head up to Elk Cove or Kramer. What we did not realize was that once you leave Hwy 47, the three miles to Elk Cove is one giant, unrelenting hill. I was beat by the time we got there! The winery staff seemed impressed with us for making the climb. We paid our $5 and tasted their wines. They have very nice pinot noirs. The vineyard has amazing views of the vines and the surrounding hills. I tend to take out of town guests here.

The ride down the hill took no time at all. I maxed out at about 31 mph which is about as fast as I am comfortable with especially on winding roads. We then headed back toward Forest Grove through Gaston (which is actually a cute little town and may be worth a visit in the future) and stopped at Patton Valley Vineyard. Getting to Patton Valley was a challenge because from Old 47 the road is about a 3/4 mile climb on gravel and we all had road bikes. We walked and rode at intervals and there seemed to be a lot of muttering and cursing, but we made it.

We were greeted by two adorable black dogs and the owner of the vineyard. My friend Gretchen was pouring the wine. I had never been to Patton Valley before but I will be going there again. The second Pinot Noir they poured is one of my new favorites. Like most pinots, the $35 price tag is more than I will pay on a regular basis, but I will certainly keep it in mind for special occasions. Yum!

After bumping down the hill back to Old 47, we rode another eight miles back to the Grand Lodge to reward ourselves with happy hour food and a beer before heading back to Portland. I think I want to try biking and wine tasting in other areas as well. McMinnville maybe? Or Dundee? Any suggestions?

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