When I think of going wine tasting in Oregon, there are two places that we ALWAYS hit.
Seven of Hearts and The Horse Radish. Both are in Carlton, and both are fantastic. We met Byron Dooley the same day that we discovered Stone Griffin and met Terry McIntyre. (Stay tuned for more on that.)
Seven of Hearts (named for their cat, who also graces the label) has a killer range of wines with grapes sourced from fourteen vineyards throughout Oregon and Washington, and oh man. We love the wine so much that we not only joined the wine club about three tastes in, but I made a point this summer when we moved to Ohio that I was absolutely not going to put the cases of wine that we had in our wine cellar on the moving truck, but drove them across the country in the back of our SUV, making a specific trip to move our wine, a few pieces of art work, and our two Chihuahuas’, Eddie and Otis.
The wines that he makes are that good.
Luminous Hills is another of Byron’s labels, and is a step up from what he bottles for the Seven of Hearts line, and they too, are amazing.
Throughout the year there are a number of events that Byron and his team offer, be it vertical tastings, wine pairing dinners with restaurants around the Valley and in Portland, and wine club pick up weekends, which we always manage to miss.
We’ve been to both a vertical tasting at the big round wooden table that graces the tasting room, and also to one of the paring dinners, which blew the socks right off of us.
Byron’s wife Dana owns Honest Chocolates, which sells from both their tasting room in Carlton, and a storefront in McMinnville, and often the wines on their tasting menu are paired with Dana’s chocolates, and oh man. We’ve not ever walked out of the tasting room without dropping serious amounts of cash on wine and chocolate. And sometimes, the chocolate even makes it home.
A trip into Carlton is never complete without a meal at the Horse Radish. Since moving east, the one meal that I’ve thought about the most, is the BLT from Horse Radish.
Their entire menu is fresh, made in house, and is comprised mainly of salads, sandwiches, and small plates. Their wine list is all Oregon wines, and are available by the glass, which if you’re out tasting and stopping for lunch, is ideal.
The exposed brick walls and hard wood floors should be harsh and unwelcoming, but instead come across as warm and inviting. The tables are a mishmash of styles and colors, and it all works.
Eating lunch at the Horse Radish and watching the world go by outside their plate glass window is one of the highlights of wine tasting, and is absolutely one of the things that I miss the most about living in Oregon.
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