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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hawks View Cellars - Sherwood - Oregon

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After our sparkling wine tasting at Argyle Winery - Dundee - Oregon, Gourmet Pigs and I took the wine guy's suggestion and visited Hawks View Cellars in Sherwood, Oregon. As we approached the winery, row after row of grape vines spread out in front of us. If only spring didn't come so late to Oregon, I'd love to see the vineyard in full bloom.

Isn't it just so gorgeous? And we hadn't even gotten to the tasting room yet. Trust me, it got even better.

Hmm. Do you think the owners live here?

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I imagine during the summer, this patio area would be a great place to sit and drink wine and look across the vineyard.

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How cozy the tasting room looks with red leather armchairs and roaring fireplace.

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It overlooks the fermentation hall.

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What surprised me the most though was the cheese, crackers, and fruit plate that was laid out for us. I've only been to a few wine tastings and none of them had anything like that. The Hawks View wine tasting was by appointment only, so it seemed extravagant to put out fresh food each time and just for us, but it was a unexpected and impressive touch.

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Fresh bottles of wine were opened for us too!

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The wine guy, Leonard, was super knowledgeable. If I recall correctly, he used to work for Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin! So why the transition to Hawks View Cellars? He gestured to the view outside the window and said he liked the slower pace of Oregon and the family atmosphere of the business. Hawks View Cellars is a boutique winery that makes only 3,000 cases a year from its 130-acre estate.

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The first wine we sampled was the 2009 Oregon Pinot Gris, $24. The winery's first vintage was only in 2008. Leonard explained that the wine was made in a multiple pick and press process. The grapes that get picked earlier are more acidic. About 10% are left on the vines as long as possible so that they become almost raisin-like before being picked. The latter batch thus have a lower acidity with a higher sugar content. The batches are then blended. This process means that Hawks View harvests about 1.75 tons of grapes per acre, while the average vineyard harvests four tons. Only 300 cases of pinot gris were made.

The result was the best pinot gris that I've ever tasted. Seriously. Usually pinot gris is a rather innocuous wine for me. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. Hawks View's meticulous process really resulted in a flavorful wine. I ended up buying two bottles, but would have bought all three vintages if I could have afforded it. My brother and cousin Q's older brother, who are more fastidious about wine than me, said they liked the wine too when I shared a bottle with them.

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Next, we moved to the 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir, $35. The 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir was given 93 points by Wine Enthusiast magazine, which described it as "in perfect balance, with excellent focus and a genuine sense of terroir." Indeed, the pinot noir at Hawks View was notably better than the ones I sampled at Argyle Winery.

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The best though was the 2009 La Baleine, $40, made from a blend of Hawks View Cellars' grapes and grapes from vineyards in Washington and California. The La Baleine wine was made using two barrels of pinot noir grapes from Hawks View's vineyards, one barrel of cabernet from The Benches Vineyard in Washington and one barrel of syrah from Page Nord Vineyard in Napa Valley. Only 100 cases of La Baleine were made.

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If you couldn't tell already, I really loved my wine tasting experience at Hawks View Cellars. The view of row after row of vines, the cozy atmosphere, the attentive and knowledgeable wine guide, the fruit and cheese plate, and the wonderful wines. We weren't rushed through, and in fact, were encouraged to sample again from whichever wine suited our fancy.

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If you only have limited time in Oregon, like I did, I highly recommend a visit to Hawks View Cellars. No rush, no pressure. Just a feeling of people who really love winemaking and sharing what they made with others.

I would have loved to linger a bit more, but we had to head back to Portland.

All Oregon posts can be found with the tag Series: Oregon, but I suggest reading this particular trip in this order:
I'm Coming Home
Bunk Sandwiches - Portland - Oregon
Horsetail Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Multnomah Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Wahkeena Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Bridal Veil Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Shepperd's Dell Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Latourell Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Crown Point Vista House (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon 
Nai Xao Xa Cuon Banh Trang (Vietnamese Sauteed Lemongrass Venison Rice Paper Rolls)
Thirsty Lion Pub and Grill - Tigard - Oregon
Reuben Sandwich
Argyle Winery - Dundee - Oregon
Hawks View Cellars - Sherwood - Oregon

Hawks View Cellars
20210 SW Conzelmann Rd.
Sherwood, OR 97140
Wine tastings by appointment only. The $15 tasting fee is waived with wine purchase.

1 year ago today, introducing baby M3 and baby A's first birthday.
2 years ago today, Chinese Noodle Soup with Ground Turkey and Pickled Mustard Greens.
3 years ago today, Ta Prohm - Cambodia.
4 years ago today, Kinpira (Japanese Sauteed Gobo (Burdock) and Carrot Matchsticks).


  1. That was such a beautiful winery. Still haven't opened my bottles though!

  2. GP,
    Don't! They're all sold out, so maybe yours will be worth something some day. I drank both of mine already.

  3. unfortunately we didn't go to any wineries during our recent trip to portland. we didn't want our 11 year old to be bored if we went. this sounds like a fantastic winery with great views, service, and hospitality.

  4. CC,
    Yeah, wine tastings aren't much fun if you're not old enough to drink. :P


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