My husband's and my first visit to David Hill Winery was easily one of the most delightful tasting room experiences of the many we've had in Oregon. We are serious wine drinkers and had with us another couple who enjoy wine too. All four of us agreed the wines were very good, the hospitality was warm, the tasting room was charming and that we'd be back. All David Hill wines including, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gerwirtztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Temperanillo, the blended red and white wines and Port are proof that a vintner can make good, drinkable wines and keep the price point within reach for everyone. There is something for everyone here.
SETTING: The winery is named for it's location outlying Forest Grove, off David Hill road which was named for one of the area's early settlers. Easy to find with a GPS, the location is beautiful with vineyards surrounding and picnic tables on a lawn behind the tasting room.
TASTING ROOM: The tasting room, which is in an 1830's old house which was salvaged and renovated to be the same, is bright and welcoming. Universally accessible; if you can't navigate the stairs in the front, there is a ramp in the back with an accessible parking spot across. One of the two bathrooms is accessible too.
TASTING SET UP: Friendly and knowledgeable hostess (Carrie) led us through the tasting. The set up for tasting here is my favorite of formats in which you can choose from a selection of wines those which are of most interest to you to try. Much prefer this over a "fixed card" sampling.
In this case, the options are any of the wines made by David Hill (with perhaps the exception of a single Pinot Noir reserved for wine club members) and for only $5 you are able to taste seven wines. Made all the better by the fact the wines are delightfully good. Even remarkable in the case of two of the seven tasted.
WINES: My husband's and my favorite of the seven wines we sampled was the 2009 Blackjack Pinot Noir ($55). So named because it comes from the vineyard's Block 21. We think this is arguably the best of all 2009 Oregon Pinot Noirs we've sampled including those made in the Dundee Hills.
The wines sampled in the lower price points (under $15 a bottle as I recall), a blended white called Cumberland Vineyards and a blended red called Farmhouse Red are a great value for very nice, drinkable "schoolnight" wines. The white contains a good share of Pinot Blanc, one of my favorite white varietals which is starting to be bottled as a single varietal in other parts of the Willamette Valley. I hope David Hill might also bottle as a single varietal eventually because in the blend it was distinct and delicious.
Other standouts were the Reserve Merlot and a Port of Muscat ($28). The latter was apricot - caramel, delicious and just sweet enough but not too much. (They were sold out of the Port of Pinot Noir.) We who like Port are fortunate that David Hill sends their port wines to be fortified by Clear Creek Distillery in Portland. In everything is connected to everything else mode, having that fabulous distiller in the mix is an excellent thing for Port quality.
THIS N THAT:
1) WINERY DOGS: Three delightful winery dogs, a Golden Retriever, an Australian Shepherd, and a Catahoula mix are on hand to greet visitors. Two of the three are featured in the Winery Dogs book available to purchase in the tasting room. This is a great tasting room experience all on its' own, but the delightful dogs make it even better!
2) SIP & SHOP: The tasting room has some interesting wine centric "gifties" for sale in local-ish food products (jams, nuts, cheeses, specialty pickles - including remarkable balsamic pickled figs recommended by the tasting room hostess - and so on) and otherwise (cookbooks, bottle corks, glass drying towels, soap and so on). You can get some gift shopping done while you sip wine. How's that for multi tasking?