Is a “Barrel Tour” in your future?

If you live in wine country, or are planning to visit a wine country in the U.S. then get ready for a ride, because this is “Barrel Tour” season. This weekend has kicked off the Umpqua Valley Oregon’s first Barrel Tour of 2013, and it was a great success. Divided between north valley, mid valley and southern valley these day long tours are well organized with your safety in mind, while totally enjoying your wine experience.

Thomas Jefferson's wine cellar

Thomas Jefferson’s wine cellar

I will be taking you on the wine and food pairing experience of the north winery tour. The day started with meeting the yellow school busses at a parking lot north of Roseburg, Oregon. The first stop of the morning was at Triple Oaks Vineyard in downtown Oakland, where wines were served with tasty treats like grilled panini’s stuffed with meatballs, cheeses and peppers. Wines tasted were the Red Oak, a blend, their Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. This was a great opportunity to experience a newer small production boutique winery.

Two "sippers" boarding the "Barrel Bus"

Two “sippers” boarding the “Barrel Bus”

Next the busses unloaded at Anindor Vineyards in Elkton where the happy crowd enjoyed    some splendid wine pairings. Their Pinot Noir was paired with beef burgundy, Pinot Gris with shrimp skewers and Gewürztraminer with tropical fruit chutney on toast points with smoky blue cheese. Now if that doesn’t get your juices flowing, wow.

Next stop was at Sienna Ridge in Oakland, for a tasting of Pinot Gris and beef tamale, Pinot Blanc with chicken enchilada and finally their Merlot with chocolate leches cake. And no, the leches were not from the pond!

The next stop was one of my favorite wineries in the Umpqua Valley, Brandborg Vineyard & Winery. Terri and Sue Brandborg located their award winning winery in Elkton and are producing some of the finest wines in the Umpqua Valley. Their pairings started with their Select Pinot Noir directly from the barrel I might add, served with savory short stack Kahlua pork. Yum. Next the ’09 Riesling with coconut red curry shrimp, wow, and finally “Miss Tilly” semi0Sweet Gamay with Balsamic Strawberries and cheese.

Looks like "Girls day out" on the Barrel Tour?

Looks like “Girls day out” on the Barrel Tour?

Next it was on to Bradley Vineyards in Oakland, where their Pinot Noir was served with grilled salmon, the Dry Riesling with melon proscuitto skewers and Umpqua Rosè was paired with bread and dips.

The day ended with a “landing” at the ever so entertaining and delicious Marsh Anne Landing located also in Oakland. This winery, located all by itself off the I-5 in Oakland is about 2 miles off the exit, but oh so worth the visit if you are ever in the area. Their first pairing was the ’07 Merlot with tortellini carbonara, their lovely ’07b Syrah with Tri Tip and lastly their ’09 Cote Du Umpqua with raspberry chicken.

Marsh Anne Landing Winery Barrel Tour 2013

Marsh Anne Landing Winery Barrel Tour 2013

After almost a full day of sipping some excellent wines, along with many surprises from the kitchens, the buss unloaded back in the parking lot where I’m sure everyone’s designated drivers awaited them. When asked if there was a planned lunch stop during the day, my answer is always, no, you don’t need one. This is an excellent way to spend a day with friends or meet new ones in wine country, USA. If you have the opportunity, research your local area or where you plan a visit, and see if a “Barrel Tour” can be in your future.



About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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