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A Willamette Thanksgiving, Part 1

Posted: Dec 6, 2006 5:40pm ET

Thanksgiving weekend is one of two times each year when the Willamette Valley’s wineries throw open their doors for wine lovers to come explore, taste, and buy some of Oregon’s finest wines. This year, our band was fortunate enough to have a couple of days off in Portland, and I was able to experience the Thanksgiving winery madness.

After reaching out to some of my favorite producers, I was invited to a family and friends Thanksgiving diner at Penner-Ash. We had pulled into Portland late on Thursday afternoon after a long drive through the Cascade Mountains from Salt Lake City. I rented a car, and our drummer, Tyler, and I navigated our way south through the rain.

We showed up at the winery to be greeted by Ron and Lynn Penner-Ash and their kids, as well as twenty-odd other friends and family members. After touring their new state-of-the art, eco-friendly, gravity-fed facility, we tasted through the last five vintages of Lynn’s Pinot Noirs from the legendary Goldschmidt Vineyard. Spicy, lively, and silky, they were all delicious, though Tyler and I both have a soft spot for the creamy red fruit of the 2003.
Dinner was a lavish potluck spread of traditional turkey (both roasted and smoked), and all the trimmings, and though we came without food or drink, we came armed with tickets for our upcoming Portland concert, and were not turned away into the cold. In fact, we strangers were welcomed like family, a recurring theme of my Willamette Weekend.

Next: On to Beaux Freres, and beyond.

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