AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Hip Chicks Do Wine Photos

Hip Chicks Do Wine Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: August 5, 2015 by Rob Boss
Published: October 16, 2015

(Photos by Jai Soots)

For over thirty years now, tourists and locals have descended on the annual Portland’s Waterfront Park for the annual Bite of Oregon. Restaurants and food carts roll out nibbles and let their chefs show off. Brewers, distillers and winemakers offer their own libations, and the proceeds are given to the Special Olympics. It’s a win-win for everyone, and a good time is had by all. But in some cases, a better time is had by some. This seemed to be the case the first time I attended, about 2002, when I looked at the short lines in front of the winery tables—except for two, that had people stacked several deep. I went there.

The first was Wine by Joe, produced by Joe Dobbes and Dobbes Family Cellars. The other was the happy go lucky urban winery, Hip Chicks Do Wine. I didn’t realize at the time that it was only their third vintage. What I did notice was that everybody was having a lot more fun than anywhere else (with the previously mentioned possible exception). The other wineries were all so… serious. Hip Chicks was where the party was happening, even though they only had one or two wines.

In the tasting room, the party started with Hip Chicks’ Bad Girl Blanc, which is 100% Pinot Gris. The nose had a distinct lemon peel note and a really lemony flavor—generally food friendly but this was winking, almost blinking acidity.

Up next was the 2011 Pinot Noir. This one was cool, with a spicy, cherry cola nose. The wine had a very light ruby, slightly brown appearance that seemed to guide me to the cola, black cherry and strawberry flavors. There was a spicy finish that I enjoyed for a good, long time.

We shifted gears a little bit and went to Southern Oregon, starting with a 2013 Tempranillo from the Umpqua Valley. This grape is taking well to Oregon, with this one showing strawberry vines on the nose, strawberries and plums in the mouth, and a medium finish that made for an easy drinker. The Reserve was the favorite of the day, showing cherries and plums on the nose, followed by plums, cocoa, espresso and cherry flavors. Only 48 cases—about two barrels worth—produced, so it goes quickly.

Also from the Umpqua Valley, the 2013 Syrah was the most complex wine of the day. There was a nice, peppery nose (both white and black) and an anise note. After that introduction, there was a mouthful of red and black plums, cocoa, espresso, black cherries, blackberries and currants.

Sixteen years into it, Hip Chicks Do Wine remains a Portland favorite, although the urban winery scene may be finally passing them by. While other places offer modern, elegant designs and urban chic, Hip Chicks deliberately keep their operation lo-fi, remaining true to their industrial area roots. There’s great wine being made at those other places, but this is still where the party happens. Attitude is everything, and the wine divas of Hip Chicks Do Wine are still the most irreverent winemakers in a notoriously irreverent city.

Address & Contact Information: 4510 SE 23rd Ave. Portland, Oregon 97202. Telephone: 503-234-3790, website: Tasting Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:00-3:00, Fri-Sun 11:00-5:00 and by appt..

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