We first tasted Youngberg Hill wine when we lived in Silverton, Oregon more than two decades ago. Just 10 minutes from downtown McMinnville, Youngberg Hill sits on a 50-acre hilltop with spectacular views. Its 30-year-old vineyard is farmed organically and known for producing award-winning wines. We tasted three last week, and recommend all of them. Read on to find out about their story, wine and beautiful inn.
Established in 1989, the Youngberg Hill vines first sourced fruit to Oregon Pinot heavyweight Ken Wright at Panther Creek Cellars. Subsequently, the first wine labeled as Youngberg Hill was made in 1996. Moreover, in 2003, winemaker Wayne Bailey and his wife Nicolette purchased the property, and transformed the land into a sustainably farmed wine estate and inn. Today, Wayne and Nicolette live on the property with their three daughters, Natasha, Jordan and Aspen.
Youngberg Hill’s 20 acres of vines are among the Willamette Valley’s westernmost vineyards, and experience a significant maritime influence. They produce four distinct estate Pinot Noirs each year, plus estate Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. As well, the winery crafts a Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc from sourced fruit. And in 2016, the Baileys also began creating sparkling wine.
In addition, they operate a bed & breakfast Inn with nine guest rooms in a picturesque setting. While there, you can enjoy an unparalleled view of the vineyard, the Eola-Amity mountain range, and the Cascades. Clear days give you an incredible view of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. More information about the luxury lodging is available here.
Youngberg Hill Wine
Youngberg Hill offers daily wine tastings. Firstly, you can walk in to taste wine, without a reservation. Secondly, you can schedule a seated wine tasting. We recently tasted samples of three Youngberg Hill wines: 2020 Aspen Pinot Gris, 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé and 2018 Cuvée Pinot Noir. As mentioned, we recommend them all.
2020 Aspen Pinot Gris ($30)
Named after the youngest daughter, Aspen, this is the best Pinot Gris we have tasted in a long time, if not ever. The fruit was grown in marine sedimentary soil, and fermented in 100% stainless steel. Consequently, this Pinot Gris is like a breeze, sharp, crisp and clean, and much less sweet than most Pinot Gris we taste, which we prefer. We didn’t pair it with anything, but it would complement dishes with spicy or bold flavors. It also will pair very well with the deck, lakeside, this summer.
2020 Pinot Noir Rosé (SRP $40)
We are firm believers that a good rosé is wonderful regardless of the season. So we opened this refreshing bottle of 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé this week. Keeping it in the family, the Natasha Block, named after the oldest daughter, sourced the pinot for this pretty rosé. This wine showcases a perfect balance of juicy red fruit and acidity, and features a clean finish – similar to their Pinot Gris. Yes, this is delightful as a summer sipper. But it also pairs well with salads and fresh fruit all year long. And even at the high price point, this rosé sells out quickly.
2018 Cuvée Pinot Noir (SRP $35)
This Cuvée Pinot Noir is light-bodied, food-friendly and very approachable. And what a beautiful nose! Mocha, berries and spices layer the aromatics and the flavors. The fruit comes from the namesake Bailey block and Brittan Vineyards, therefore the description as a Cuvée. Pair it with salmon, turkey or pizza. Or Wayne says you could even pair it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Now that is indeed food friendly.
In conclusion, we are so enamored with these wines that we booked a visit to the winery and inn later this year. We are really looking forward to seeing the tasting room, the vineyards and the bed-and-breakfast. Likewise, we know we will taste more beautiful wine with Wayne, and learn more about Youngberg’s organic and biodynamic farming practices, and its non-intervention winemaking process.
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Margot and Dave