Carlton Wine Country in Oregon is a perfect getaway from Seattle, not only because of its close proximity but also because of the friendly people, the warm hospitality and naturally, the fine wine.
We recently spent a long weekend in Carlton at the beautiful Lobenhaus Bed & Breakfast, where eight other visitors, also from the Seattle area, shared stories of their positive experiences in the region. Each group had a list of wineries to visit, and we all compared notes as we dug into the absolutely delicious and plentiful breakfast served each morning by our delightful hosts, Shari and Joe Lobenstein.
In addition to Lobenhaus, here is our list of favorite places (in no particular order) to visit in Carlton Wine Country.
Seven of Hearts: Our first stop on Friday afternoon was to visit with Rachel Go and winemaker Byron Dooley <pictured above>, who showed us his amazing lineup of 30 wines in the 2012 vintage and 21 wines in 2011 – several of which we tasted, loved and brought home.
Carlton Cellars: We spent an hour on Saturday chatting with winemaker Dave Grooters <pictured right>, listening to his entertaining stories and trying several outstanding wines, ranging from crisp summer sippers, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, to several tasty Pinot Noirs.
K&M Winery: We had so much fun with Ken Morrison and Mauro Hernandez <pictured left>, who poured classic Pinots such as NV Pinot Noir Oveja, 08 Pinto Nori, 09 Pinot Noir Reserve and 2010 Pinot Noir Cuvee. (And that cheese spread throughout the tasting room – what a treat.)
Ken Wright Cellars: From a 2011 Pinot Blanc to a 2007 Pinot Noir, Ken Wright’s wine showcased the stunning grapes that put Oregon on the map.
Noble Pig: What we love about this tasting room is that each flight of wine is accompanied by unusual pairings. For example, it’s a unique experience to taste lemon oil shots (last visit) or orange oil shots (this time) right after a sip of white wine.
Barking Frog Winery: Known for bold, full-bodied reds, we particularly enjoyed the two Barberas and the 2009 Pinot Noir Bailey, which won a double gold at the 2013 Oregon Wine Awards.
Troon Vineyard: After so many pours of Oregon Pinots, Chelsea Janzen showed us a nice change of pace at this laughingly described “anti-Pinot” winery. Their fabulous big reds include a stellar 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, a 2010 Old Vine Meritage and a 2011 Zinfandel. Troon was recently named “One of the Top Ten Hottest Wine Brands” in the US by Wine Business Monthly.
We really experienced the Carlton wine country spirit at each of these wineries, but a trip to Carlton is never complete without a stop to see Lynette Shaw and Amy Wilder <pictured right> at Republic of Jam.
These two incredible women run their store like a jam tasting room with flights of jam paired with tasty treats. Here’s an example: Boysenberry Orange Teriyaki Chicken.
Wow, what an explosion of flavors at Republic of Jam! We tried so many, but my favorite was Blueberry Lemon while Dave preferred Cranberry Raspberry.
We intend to write more posts about our experiences in Carlton wine country. Until then, check out the websites in this post and think about planning your own visit soon.