AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom Photos

Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: August 6, 2015 by Rob Boss
Published: September 25, 2015

(Photos by Jai Soots)

Coopers Hall is located "just across the river," a few blocks from the Burnside Bridge, scant minutes from downtown Portland on the bus. The building is sleek but rustic, hip and Spartan, Portland chic. It's a very clean, uncluttered design, with simple lines and functional economy that gives an impression of nothing wasted. Other than a row of banquettes, there's no dividing line between the restaurant/tasting room and the winery itself. Forklifts come and go, and winery workers are happy to answer questions as they motion you back out of the way. I briefly wondered if I could get a round of drinks if I offered to punch down before the appetizer arrived. Guy, the bartender handled his role with panache, ready with a knowledgeable answer when we asked questions about the wine and moving purposefully among the 44 taps as he filled orders from clean, unmarked taps. He let the cat out the bag when Jai asked if he'd memorized them all. "Oh, they're numbered on the counter," he laughed. "But you can't see that from the bar." There's quite a lot of seeming magic behind the scenes here, I suspect, by intent.

The Coopers Hall Mixed Flight was all produced in the building, but it was also served from a tap. That's this winery/resturant's mission: all the wine at Coopers Hall is kegged, available in 2 ounce tasting pours, by the glass, 480ml carafes—or fill your own bottle and take it home. Another Old World idea adapted to the American market, and it's a great way to taste several different wines over dinner.

We began with a 2010 Gewurztraminer that showed lychee nuts on the nose—true to the varietal. It was crisp and dry, with a food-ready acidity and lemon and lime flavors. It turned out to be a winner with the Crispy Octopus we later ordered. Next up was a 2014 Rosé, made from Pinot Noir. Strawberries all the way, nose to mouth. There were also some floral notes on the nose, and a slightly effervescent mouth feel.

Now we were ready for some reds. Their 2013 Pinot Noir was a really light, delicate color, which was oddly refreshing. Cold soak prevails in the Willamette Valley, and this struck me as more Burgundian, more traditional. The nose had a nice cherry pie spice. This was followed by cherry and raspberry pie flavors and a little red plum on the finish.

Last of all was a dark, inky 2013 Syrah from Daisy Creek Vineyard, in Southern Oregon's Umpqua Valley. I loved the intense tar and licorice notes on the nose, along with raspberries and plums. The wine had a mouthful of concentrated, intense, dried fruit flavors; plums, blackberries, currants and black cherries. That one caught me at just the right time: I'd been tasting Pinot Noir all afternoon, so it really stood out like a black sheep.

We didn't have time to stay for dinner, which was a shame. Another time, and hopefully soon, because the Crispy Octopus appetizer we ordered for a snack was out of this world. (Jai ordered a txakolina to go with it—perhaps out of the scope of this review, but in the interest of service to our readers: the pairing was divine!) The duck confit presented next to us looked fantastic. Coopers Hall is a fun place for some pretty good wine, and maybe even better food. Put the two together and you've got a winner.

Address & Contact Information: 404 SE 6th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97214. Telephone: 503-719-7000, website: Tasting Hours: Sun-Thurs 5:00-close, Fri-Sat 5:00-midnight.

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