Italian-Style Wines in Oregon Wine Country?

We took a short trip to Oregon last fall to visit my wife’s family, and decided to stop by a couple of wineries while we were there.  When we asked around, we were told to stop by a small winery called Remy Wines in McMinnville Oregon.  It’s a cute little place that’s run by Remy Drabkin, who decided in third grade that she wanted to be a winemaker because she saw how much her parents enjoyed wine and the wine lifestyle.  The winery tasting room was carved out of a part of their warehouse facility, but they’ve done a nice job of making it a kitschy-cool little hangout they call the baR (or the R Bar).  Remy Wines also serves great antipasto to go with their Italian-styled wines – bread, olive oil, cheeses, cured meats – even our kids were happy.

Christina and her sister-in-law Kerry Prather at Remy Winery on a beautiful - and windy - fall day.
Christina and her sister-in-law, Kerry Prather, at Remy Wines on a beautiful – and windy – fall day.
The kids were occupied for a little bit.
Maybe these third graders will also be interested in wine one day…?
And then the food arrived and the kids really got into it.
The kids were definitely interested in the food!

Yes – you heard me right, we were drinking Italian-styled wines in Pinot Country.  I would never have expected to find a winery in Oregon that concentrated on Italian varietal wines, but it was a refreshing change.  I really like the Italian varietals with their higher acidity – they’re great food wines.  Here are some of the wines that we tasted while at Remy:

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2012 Three Wives White, Pinot Gris – Nice semi-sweet white fruit wine for the summer afternoons, nice clean medium finish.

2010 Three Wives Red, Barbera and Sangiovese – Nice sweet red/black fruit that is a little earthy and with juicy acidity that keeps everything lively in the mouth.  This is an excellent food wine that has a very nice medium-long earthy red fruit finish.

2011 Ciel du Cheval Sangiovese – Nice red cherry fruit and red licorice in the mouth with decent acidity and a medium slightly dry finish.  This is a nice wine, but it doesn’t quite have the complexity that the Three Wives Red has at this point, but it is also a year younger as well.

2010 Rosebud, Barbera – Deeper, darker ripe black bing cherries with a little blackberry, red currant and dusty earth thrown into the mix.  This wine has very good juicy acidity that intermingles with the rich dark fruit keeping everything alive in the mouth.  Very nice long sweet dark fruit filled finish.  This is a really well made wine that will give the Italians a run for their money.

2010 Lagrein – Dark, slightly dry earthy fruit, with good acidity.  Medium length dry dark fruit finish.  This Italian grape varietal is apparently from the NE area of Italy.  I don’t think I have had this one before or at least I didn’t know it.  It is an interesting grape, but I do prefer the Barbera and Sangiovese based wines.

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Even though Remy Wines is an Oregon winery, most of the grapes come from Washington State on Red Mountain.  Remy is making some really good (and affordable) wines and they are a definite place to seek out while you are in the Oregon wine country.  I will definitely be going back next time I am down in the neighborhood.  Remy Wines is a very refreshing change to the dominant Pinot that is produced in Oregon.  Bravo Remy!  Keep up the good work.

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