Road Trip Guide - Page 39 - Water and wine continued (3)

Road Trip Guide
- Page 39
Water and wine continued (3)
us, Jesse jokes that the lack of fancy signage and pavement is “our bubba filter,” meant to screen out folks just eager to gulp free wine.

We’re joined in our winery tour by Jesse’s equally affable dad, Don, who tells us how a love for pinot noir, especially how it’s traditionally made in France, lured him and other winemakers here. “We weren’t paying attention to what California was doing (with wine),” he says. “We were looking to Burgundy.”

Besides stellar pinot noirs, Lange Estate also makes wonderful chardonnay and pinot gris wines. Most recently, they’ve begun producing bubbly. Named for Don’s wife, Wendy Mia, their sparkling Mia Mousseux brut rose is delightful.

Much as Gail and I would like to linger, we have one more winery to visit. About 15 minutes’ drive west, Soter Vineyards’ purposefully cryptic road sign (MSR 10880) belies a winery staff, including rambunctious young cats, Bill and Ted, that welcomes visitors. Gail and I love their pinot noirs but are gaga for their sparkling Mineral Springs brut rose.

Dinner that night at cozy restaurant Thistle, in nearby McMinnville, has us considering extending our stay. The pot de creme dessert, a delicate custard decorated with paper-thin salted rosemary cookies, is especially persuasive.

Next morning, after packing our rental car, we take another stroll around the grounds. We swear we can almost see the first new buds peeking from the vines, signaling the beginning of what will soon be a riot of springtime green. Which, I remember Jesse and Steve telling me, also happens to be prime season to fish for trout.