AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Marshall Davis Wines Photos

Marshall Davis Wines Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Yamhill-Carlton Region, Oregon

Reviewed: November 29, 2015 by Rob Boss
Published: March 18, 2016

(Photos by Jai Soots)

When in the thick of a wine tasting trip, there comes a time for… lunch. Arguably the best place for that in Carlton is the Horse Radish Restaurant, smack dab in the middle of Main Street, mere steps away from one of the tasting rooms you’re visiting (or at least should be visiting). If there’s a catch, it’s that weekday hours are limited: they’re only open 12-3 Sunday through Thursday. But they’re open Noon to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday, which accommodates the bulk of wine tourism. Food is available to go, a fantastic picnic.

With the visit comes a bonus. Back in the corner is a small bar set up that serves as the tasting room space for Marshall Davis Wines; three brothers who are also part owners of the family operation that is the Horse Radish. Ryan tasted me on their two wine offerings, dividing his time between me and a full dining room. He never seemed hurried, nor did he ever miss a beat with his lunch customers.

Marshall Davis produces about a thousand cases of three different wines, two of which were open that day. The wine’s made at Matello’s facility, in McMinnville. I’m a longtime fan of Matello, so I took that as a very good sign. The first pour of the 2013 Beacon Hill Pinot Noir showed a nose of fresh, on-the-vine raspberries and strawberries. The aromatics were vivid enough to imagine sitting among the briars themselves, probably thanks to 50% New French Oak. On first sip the flavors seemed surprisingly red for Yamhill-Carlton AVA, but that unfolded into red plums and black plums; darker, more of what I think of for that area.

Next up was the 2013 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; made with 30% new American oak. Tomato vines and black cherry showed on the nose. After that came a mouthful of dark, black cherry and blackberry flavors. A fuller bodied wine like this always stands out in Pinot country. Now it was time for lunch.

Our lunch at the Horse Radish Restaurant was terrific. We were pressed for time ourselves, so Jai quickly ordered a turkey sandwich, a standard to compare to any restaurant, to be sure, and a quick go to right before closing time. That we were visiting the day after Thanksgiving and had surely been stuffed to our ears with turkey made us both question her snap decision. And yet… it was superb. Instead of the usually sliced turkey breast, the sandwich was made of pulled turkey meat. This was no deli standard.

“Pinot fatigue” had us ordering beers, and we watched the staff lock and load for the next day’s business. No one passed by us without checking on our needs, and all were pleased we’d tried the wine and stayed for lunch. The wines were worth checking out, to be sure, and the food was very good. This is a place we’ll look forward to visiting anytime we’re nearby. In fact, we’ll probably plan our next wine tasting trip around lunch.

Address & Contact Information: 211 W. Main St. Carlton, Oregon 97111. Telephone: 503-852-6656, website: Tasting Hours: Sun-Thurs 12:00-3:00, Fri-Sat 12:00-10:00.

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