AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Left Coast Cellars Photos

Left Coast Cellars Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: July 26, 2012 by Rob Boss
Published: July 30, 2012

Left Coast Cellars is located fifteen miles south of McMinnville, Oregon—which is further south than most Portland wine tasters and tourists want to drive. But there are some good wineries down that far, and thanks to Left Coast Cellars, tasters have a nice place for lunch. Their tasting room is part of a delightful country café that features herbs and vegetables grown on the property.

Opened in 2010, the rustic pine tables and chairs, and bright, cheery colors suggest country comfort. There is also plenty of outdoor seating during the summer. The grounds are gorgeously landscaped, almost overkill in contrast to the simple interior of the café.

The best wine of the visit was the first. The 2009 Truffle Hill Chardonnay showed honeysuckle, apples and pears in the nose. The palette has a nicely balanced, yummy blend of apples and pears. This is a delicious wine that shows well above its $20 dollar price point. It’s a real bargain.

Left Coast’s 2010 Pinot Noir Rose has summery strawberry and pink grapefruit flavors, and a strawberry nose. It’s a simpler wine but what it does, it does well.

In broad brush stroke terms, Dijon clone grapes offer something for the mouth, and Pommard clones give to the nose. The 2008 Right Bank Pinot Noir is made of 100% Pommard clone grapes and the nose of this wine is luscious. Crushed fruit and spice aromatics will fascinate the taster. The wine has good structure, with muted, dusty cherry and raspberry flavors. The flavors don’t quite deliver on the promise of the nose, but it’s a lovely wine just the same.

The 2008 Latitude 45 Pinot Noir also had a spicy, briary nose with crushed fruit notes. Intense, dried cherry flavors should pair with the lunch served in the café.

Last in the flight was 2004 Suzanne’s Reserve. The nose had a cooked fruit, cherry pie aroma. Softer from age, it had the silky cherry mouth feel of classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir but not much of a finish. This wine was either in a dumb phase, had been open too long, or was simply past its prime (I thought the latter). 2004 was a great vintage in Oregon but this wine wasn’t showing it.

We arrived toward the end of Oregon Pinot Camp and the café was booked out for a private event, so we didn’t get to taste any of the food that has attracted attention of the local wine publications. That was the only thing that went wrong, because even though the staff had every reason to ask us to leave—they were under the gun for their event—they instead offered every element of hospitality. The staff might have been rushed, but we were not, and even though we had only a few minutes to taste the wines, we still felt welcome; quite a trick, as the chef whisked by us with a fistful of lavender. The wine is, perhaps, not the star of the show here. Instead, with the café located between almost a dozen wineries and fifteen miles from the next town, Left Coast Cellars is a great place to stop for a wine country meal. You’ll be glad you did because these people will make sure of it.

Address & Contact Information: 4225 N Pacific Highway W Rickreall, Oregon 97371. Telephone: 503-831-4916, website: Tasting Hours: Feb-Dec 23: 11:00-5:00 (during summer open until 7:00 on Saturday); Jan by appt..

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