Phelps Creek Vineyards is perched on a hillside just outside Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge.

Named for a small stream that flows past the vineyard, along with the close knit community that lives in the area, Phelps Creek Vineyards is perched on a hillside just outside Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge. The small, boutique winery focuses on producing estate grown pinot noir and dijon clone chardonnay.

My hosts for the day were Bob Morus, founder and president and with Alexandrine Roy, director of winemaking and vineyard pup Rosie. My wine country experience started with breakfast on the deck overlooking the vineyard. Some may say 10:00 in the morning may be too early to start tasting wine. Certainly not Alexandrine, who had just recently arrived from Burgundy, France, where she also oversees winemaking operations. Personally, I think that chardonnay pairs quite nicely with cinnamon rolls and scones. Plus is there really a bad time to drink good wine?

As we enjoyed breakfast (and the incredible view) Bob and Alexandrine gave what one might call a master’s class in this history of Oregon wine growing and  making. I was flooded with information, from the origins of the vines, properties of the soil to the barrel aging process.

After our meal, we moved on to the wine aging room to taste straight from the barrels. As this was a completely new experience to me, I have to say I was pretty darn excited about this part of the morning. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. To put it in very simplistic terms, what I tasted was a pretty incredible wine, with subtle undertones of grape juice.

The new releases tasted were:

  • 2012 “Lynette” Estate Chardonnay
  • 2012 Estate Pinot Gris
  • 2011 Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir
  • 2011 “Regina” Pommard Clone Pinot Noir

The “Lynette” chardonnay was named for Bob’s fiance. The “Regina” pinot noir was named for Bob’s mother, Regina and Alexandrine’s mother Regine, respectively. What a lucky group of ladies to have such tasty wines named in their honor. When you taste a Phelps Creek wine, what really comes through is a wine made with exceptional fruit and passion by masters of their craft.

Take a drive through the orchards to their tasting room located at the Hood River Golf Course. Tasting fees are refunded with any wine purchase. Trust me; you are going to want to take at least one bottle home with you.

Want to have your own day in the vineyard like mine? During the summer months,  a variety of Wine Country Experiences are offered – including “Yoga in the Vineyard,”  instructional tours with a professional photographer, or the “Ultimate Experience” of food and wine pairings as you stroll through the vines.

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, this “Wine Country Experience” was provided to me free of charge as a special guest of the vineyard. Contrary to popular belief, free wine doesn’t taste any better than that for which you pay.

About the Author: Cari Gesch

Cari, a resident of the Mount Hood foothills, is a photographer, writer, and wanderer of hiking trails and scenic byways. She captures images and stories of the experiences and destinations that make Oregon such an exciting place to live and play in on her blog, Wahkeena Exposures.

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