AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Boedecker Cellars Photos

Boedecker Cellars Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: August 2, 2015 by Rob Boss
Published: March 30, 2016

(Photos by Jai Soots)

We’d actually put off reviewing Boedecker Cellars’ urban winery for a while because they were remodeling the tasting room—not because we weren’t longtime fans. The result is a quietly elegant space with dark wood, simple square bistro tables in the middle of the room, and longer bistro tables along the windows. There’s plenty of room for guests to relax and taste—and it can all be moved out or around quickly, for a party or for an extra fermenter to work its magic during harvest (only one this year).

Bert, the smart and smartly dressed tasting room manager, offers a wealth of wine knowledge from decades of experience. The 2014 Pinot Gris he started with offered a nose of toast and pears. Extended maceration (leaving the skins in the juice for a time) and aging on the lees for nine months, gave the wine rich and ripe pear and golden apple flavors. Ah, such joyful decadence. Up next was a less decadent but no less enjoyable 2012 Chardonnay. Wet stones and peaches greeted my nose, followed by a mouthful of peaches and nectarines, with a dash of lemon on the finish. Both of these are equally at home at a cocktail party or the dinner table. And now on to Pinot Noir, which is the winery’s focus.

As mentioned, Boedecker Cellars features two Signature Blends, named after its founders, and the two blends are as different as the people themselves. Stewart prefers bright acidity and red fruit flavors, while Athena likes black fruit, structure and spice. They’re both great and especially fun to try side by side. The 2012 Athena was showing particularly well today, with black fruit, spice and white pepper on the nose. Red and black plums, raspberries, cherries and currants opened up on the palate. The 2012 Stewart was more reserved today, but still showed bright, young cherry and raspberry flavors, and strawberry at the very end of a nice, long finish. It’s always fun to listen to long term customers talk about these wines, because each has its devoted fans. I like them both, but my preference varies with vintage.

Cherry Grove Vineyard is on the border of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and this single vineyard release is a crowd-pleaser, year after year. It always lives up to its name, showing every imaginable cherry aromatic and flavor, from Adriana to Yellow Spanish (there’s not a Z—I looked it up). What’s fascinating, actually, is experiencing varieties of cherries that clear and distinct on your own palate, while sometimes watching other people pick out yet another. Great fun, as wine is supposed to be.

Last up was 2012 Carlton Hill. This one’s been a longtime favorite of mine, for two reasons: the nose and the finish. It never disappoints, with a nose of intense, crushed raspberry, blackberry and cherry, red plum and spices. The palate went from a mouthful of raspberry, cherry and cinnamon to a long, long, lingering finish of raspberry and spices. 2013 was offered only to Wine Club members, but Bert happened to have one open: pepper and brûlée on the nose, dusty strawberry and cherry flavors. It needs another year in the bottle, but if there was ever a reason to join anybody’s wine club, it has to be this.

If you’ve only got a couple of hours for wine tasting, Portland’s urban winery scene can’t be beat. One of Boedecker Cellars’ great advantages is their industrial location near Montgomery Park. It’s not just easy access for delivery trucks. It’s also only ten minutes from Downtown Portland, where the wines are featured in the city’s best restaurants, and twenty from the airport—wine lovers often stop by on their way in and out. That convenience only adds to an already excellent value in these classic, finely-crafted Oregon wines.

Address & Contact Information: 2621 NW 30th St Portland, Oregon 97210. Telephone: 503-224-5778, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Sat-Sun 1:00-6:00.

Overall Rating:  

Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance

More information about Boedecker Cellars

Explore Oregon wineries

Explore Willamette Valley AVA wineries