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Sample Oregon wines this month

SUBMITTED PHOTOS: KERRY BLACKBURN PHOTOGRAPHY  - David Specter of Bells Up Winery is celebrating the winerys first anniversary with special events this weekend and next.

So many wines, so little time. The month of May is designated as Oregon Wine Month, and I am sorry to say that even with a month, you will not be able to sample all the world-class wines made in our state.

Oregon now boasts more than 600 wineries and more than 900 vineyards producing 72 varieties of grapes. The good news is that you don’t have to limit your tasting to the month of May and Oregon Wine Board has created a calendar on their website, oregonwine.org, to help you create your itinerary for experiencing Oregon Wine Month.

My list of recommendations of wines to sample is at least as long as my arm. Be sure to try these:

PIKE ROAD  - Pike Road 2015 Pinot Gris

Pike Road Wines — Pike Road, a sister brand to Elk Cove Vineyards founded by Pat and Joe Campbell in 1974, debuted two wines from the Willamette Valley appellation: French oak barrel-aged Pinot Noir and stainless steel fermented Pinot Gris. According to Shirley Brooks, PRW sales and marketing vice president, the wines were created to bring wine lovers value in Willamette Valley pinot noir and pinot gris. Pike Road Wines are hand-picked and sourced from Campbell family vineyard sites and smaller lots from long-term relationships with family farms such as Shea, Fairsing and Olenik. Pike Road is an actual road that winds through the lowland farms of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and out to the forests of the coast range. It is one of the more picturesque drives in the Willamette Valley and for the Campbell family it symbolizes the spirit of Oregon farming. You can learn more online at pikeroadwines.com.

KERRY BLACKBURN PHOTOGRAPHY - Bells Up produces handcrafted, classically styled Oregon pinot noir with grapes sourced primarily from micro-growers located on the northside of the Willamette Valley. It also offers a small selection of other varietals grown and produced in Oregon.

Bells Up Winery — I made the delightful discovery of one of Newberg’s newest micro-boutique wineries, Bells Up Winery, earlier this month. Winemaker David Specter and his wife Sara just celebrated the winery’s first anniversary. Usually open only by appointment, their tasting room will be open to the public from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 21, and noon-4 p.m. May 22, and again noon-4 p.m. May 28, 29, 30. On the 21st, Ember and Vine, Portland’s wood-fire-and-wine-experience experts, will serve a selection of small bites paired with Bells Up wines. Smoked and prepared onsite, the menu includes Carlton Farms pulled pork crostini and chorizo verde smoked sausages and more. David will pour five wines: 2014 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc, 2015 Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2013 and 2014 Titan Pinot Noirs and 2014 Firebird Syrah.

Tasting fee for the wine and Ember and Vine food pairings is $30 per person; sample wines only for $15 per person, deducted from a $75 purchase.

What was the inspiration for the winery’s name? “Bells up” is a reference to a dramatic moment in classical music where the composer instructs French horn players to lift the bells of their instruments upward and project the sound with maximum intensity. Dave played French horn with symphonic groups throughout high school and college and considers the winery to be his “bells up” moment.

We found the pinot blanc, rosé and syrah to be exceptional.

Visit bellsupwinery.com or call 503-537-1328.

DURANT VINEYARDS - Durant Vineyards Pinot Noir RoseDURANT VINEYARDS - Durant Vineyards Pinot Noir

Durant Vineyards at Red Ridge Farms — You’ve got to try Paul Durant’s latest releases: the 2013 La Paloma Pinot Noir and the 2015 Ava Lucia Pinot Noir Rose.

“All 100 percent estate grown, these reflect our meticulous farming methods,” Paul wrote in a note to me. “The La Paloma block was picked six days before the torrential rains that hit in late September. This wine is very reflective of the 114 clone, with a delicate bouquet and fruit forward body.

“The Ava Lucia Pinot Noir Rosé is the second rosé that we have ever produced, the first being in 2011. Harvested off the coolest location in the vineyard, this wine has a racy acidity, with bright citrus and big fruit flavors.”

He was excited to share the new rosé, as customers had been requesting another for years.

Red Ridge Farm offers more than Durant Vineyard’s exceptional wines. It is the home of Oregon Olive Oil, a plant nursery and classes, a gift store and, of course, spectacular views. Learn more online at redridgefarms.com or call 503-864-8502.

Stoller Family Estate — The Stoller family established the property in 1943, and the vineyard 50 years later. It is the largest contiguous vineyard in the Dundee Hills, and the fruit is 100 percent estate grown. The winery was the first in the world to receive LEED Gold certification. Join them 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 21 and 22 for the release of their 2015 Single Acre Riesling. Stoller’s Culinary Director Sean McKee will fire up the grill for lunch.

They invite you to celebrate the start of summer with a magnum of Stoller rosé — join them for Memorial Day weekend, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 28 and 29. The tasting fee includes stemless logo glass. Learn more online at stollerfamilyestate.com.

Dobbes Family Estate is always a favorite. Joe Dobbes is celebrating his 30th year as a winemaker. Drop in for a tasting event that is sure to please. Visit dobbesfamilyestate.com.

Archery Summit Winery is hosting a Riedel Glass Seminar May 28, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Cost is $95, which covers the seminar, tastings and four pieces of stemware to take home. Reservations are required and the classes fill quickly. Call 503-864-4300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You could be one of the first to visit de Lancellotti Family Vineyard’s new tasting room. It opens for the very first time May 28 at 18605 NE Calkins Lane in Newberg. Hours are 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. May 28 and 29.

And we haven’t even looked at our urban wineries or to the east. We’re blessed with so many options. You’ve got a few days to do some research before the Memorial Day weekend tasting begins.

Remember you can always order wine online, and your local wine shop will have lots of options for you to try.

Yes, there are many options but there is no reason to race through your sampling. Drink responsibly. Whether you purchase wines from the winemaker or your local wine shop, enjoy Oregon wines this month and throughout the year.

Sorry, no room for a recipe today. But I’d suggest grilled lamb kabobs would pair nicely with a crispy pinot noir rosé.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter: @barbrandallfood.

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