Monthly Archives: September 2016


Top 5 Places to Stay in Oregon Wine Country

With a wealth of options for your next trip to Oregon Wine Country, it can be difficult to decide what quaint Oregon town you’ll choose and what type of accommodation you’re looking for. Hotel in McMinnville? Bed and breakfast in Carlton? Vacation rental via VRBO or Airbnb near Dundee or Newberg?

If you’re not sure where to start for your next stay in Willamette Valley Wine Country, take a peek at our recommendations below. These are places we recommend to our friends and family, and have received rave reviews from our tasting room guests from out of town

1. Carlton Inn, Carlton, Oregon

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Image c/o Carlton Inn

Offering only 4 guest rooms in the heart of Carlton, Oregon, the Carlton Inn is the perfect romantic getaway in the heart of Oregon Wine Country. The Inn is an adult destination and offers the perfect balance of country charm with luxury accommodations and gourmet breakfast complete with produce and eggs from the Inn’s own gardens!

2. The Vintages Trailer Resort in Dayton, Oregon

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Image c/o The Vintages Trailer Resort

Yep, you heard that right. Vintage + Trailer + Resort in Oregon Wine Country is about as unique as it gets. The Vintages offers 18 adorably renovated trailers with the perfect combination of vintage flair with modern luxury. The Vintages is the perfect choice for travelers of all ages and groups of all sizes looking for something less traditional than a hotel or bed & breakfast experience.

3. Chehalem Ridge Bed and Breakfast, Newberg, Oregon

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Image c/o Chehalem Ridge

Nestled into the side of Chehalem Mountain just outside of Newberg, Oregon, Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast offers comfortable rooms with amazing views. Four of their five rooms have private balconies offering stunning views of the beautiful Willamette Valley countryside, and even better views of the large winery estates wrapping the hills across the valley. Chehalem Ridge is an excellent choice for those looking to absorb the beauty of Oregon Wine Country from the privacy of their own suite.

4. Brookside Inn in Dundee, Oregon

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Image c/o Brookside Inn

Located on a 21 acre property in the Willamette Valley countryside, Brookside Inn offers much more than just lodging. Guests are truly able to relax, unplug and unwind with a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir in hand while taking in the surrounding creek, pond, waterfall and meadows surrounding the Inn- an especially wonderful treat after a day wine tasting in Oregon Wine Country! Brookside Inn is an ideal bed and breakfast for guests looking for a vacation replete with tranquility and restoration.

5. Le Puy, Newberg, Oregon

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Image c/o Le Puy

Completed in 2010, Le Puy Inn, located in between Newberg, Carlton, and Yamhill Oregon offers eight expansive guest rooms in a home custom-built to highlight the best of Oregon Wine Country views with the comfort and excellence of modern, spa-like rooms. And they’re sure to help their guests enjoy wine country to their fullest- making sure each room is stocked with wine glasses and bottle openers at all times!


We hope you book with one of these fabulous choices on your next visit to Oregon Wine Country. Be sure to stop by our tasting room during your visit and let us know how your stay is going!
Looking for more? See our post Top 5 Things To Do In Oregon Wine Country for ideas on activities and sights beyond wine tasting.

Do’s & Don’ts of Cooking With Wine

Cooking with wine is a fun way to add some new flavors to your recipe, or just to try something new. It shouldn’t be scary and is a particularly fast way to add instant flavor without having to spend hours in the kitchen, and as long as you follow these general rules of thumb, you’ll do just fine.

Using the wine from the vinegar aisle at the grocery store- Don’t. The first major rule of cooking with wine is to only cook with wine you’d drink. You’ve probably seen those little bottles of “cooking wine” at your grocery store but do not be tempted. This is not a product that will enhance your recipe. Cooking wines in the vinegar section are usually extremely high in salt, sugar, or acidity and too low in the flavors you want in your recipe to be worth it.

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Using specialty wines to cook- Don’t. The purpose of cooking with wine is to add flavor, acid, and in some cases, a little bit of sweetness. You reduce it to the point that there’s no alcohol left, just the flavor characteristics of the wine. If you have a showcase bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir and are looking to impress your in-laws or friends by cooking with it, you might want to reconsider simply serving that showcase wine in a glass instead.

Winery155Using wine that’s been open for a few days- Do! This is a great way to use up that last glass of wine in the bottle that you haven’t gotten around to drinking (if there is such a thing). Using wine that ‘s been open for a few days is actually preferable in some recipes because it will have a slightly higher acid content- something you want while cooking.

Winery254Using super old wine- Don’t. How do you tell if your wine is just too old to cook with? 1. Give it a sniff- if it smells like anything you wouldn’t want in your mouth (wet dog, mold, nail polish remover, natural gas…) then you need to dump it. 2. If it smells okay, give it a taste and, again, if it tastes like anything bad or inedible, toss. If it passes the smell and taste tests and doesn’t give you any inclination that you want to dump it then you’re good to go!

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Image via VinePair, click here to read more about how to smell and taste if your wine has gone bad.

Using wine in place of water- Do! This is a great place to get started. The next time you come across a recipe that calls for water, especially something you’d make in your slow cooker or Dutch oven, try using wine instead! A perfect example of this is Tyler Florence’s pot roastIn this recipe, you’d sub 1 cup of whatever red wine you have on hand for the water and serve the dish with the rest of the wine. See how easy this can be?

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Using champagne too cook- Don’t. I hate to be blunt here but using champagne in your next risotto or pasta is a close as it gets to committing a wine crime. Why? It’s simple. Champagne/sparkling wine is just white wine that has gone through a second fermentation just to create the bubbles. Before champagne is champagne, it’s white wine. And it takes years, yes years, to make those bubbles. It would be like spending all day in the kitchen making dinner only to have someone douse the dish in hot sauce, destroying all of the flavor you’ve worked so hard to create. Don’t do it. See a recipe with champagne (we’re looking at you, Pinterest!)? Simply use white wine instead.

Winery202Using Port to create a reduction- Don’t. Now, to some, this might be quite a bold stance to take but hear us out. Port wines are not cheap. Well, port wines worth drinking aren’t, at least. Ports are a fortified wine, meaning they have alcohol added to them, in most cases, brandy. So if you cook all of the alcohol out of your port, yes you might have a yummy tasting sauce or reduction at the end of it, but you can achieve the same delicious flavor with a lower-end dessert wine and save your ports as you’d save your showcase Pinot Noir- for drinking.

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For dessert reductions, sauces, glazes etc. you’re better off going anything classified as “late harvest,” a gewurtztraminer (different than dry gewurtztraminer), or a Sauternes, Madiera or Marsala wine.

Again, as long as you follow these general guidelines, you’ll add instant flavor and depth to your next dinner or dessert. Cheers!

Are You Drinking Sparkling Wine All Wrong?

It is pretty fitting that our first grape delivery of the 2016 Harvest was a batch of Chardonnay grapes destined for Blanc de Blancs-style sparkling wine as. (Pssst, did you see that announcement on our Instagram last week?) A little known fact of Laurel Ridge is that our founder, David Teppola was the first to produce a sparkling wine in Oregon, way back in 1986. In fact, it was one of the very first wines that Laurel Ridge produced at all! David believed in the romance of making and enjoying sparkling wine and it is a legacy we hope to continue for many years to come.

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Sparkling wine truly is a wine of celebration. Whether an intimate picnic with your significant other or the toast at a retirement party or wedding, it is difficult to imagine a celebration without sparkling wine (and we already know why wineries like us call it “sparkling wine” and not champagne). But did you know you might be drinking your sparkling wine entirely wrong?

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It’s quite common to see these saucer style sparkling wine glasses at parties and events, especially historically, but, unfortunately, it is one of the worst designs of a glass to enjoy champagne. It is rumored that this glass style was designed after Marie Antoinette’s bosom but we aren’t entirely sure if that is true or not. Either way it does make for an interesting story!

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What exactly makes the wide-brimmed glass a poor choice for our favorite sparkling beverage? Well, the fact that it sparkles, of course! The answer is in the nickname. Sparkling wine, affectionately referred to as “bubbly” needs a taller glass to preserve the bubbles. The greater the mouth of the glass, the faster the bubbles will escape to the surface, and nobody wants to drink flat sparkling wine. Unlike a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, not only is the nose of the wine an important aspect of drinking sparkling wine, but the bubbles themselves. It is the distinct character of the bubbles floating to the surface that deliver the joy and excitement to the lips of the imbiber.

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In addition to the bubbles, though, is the importance of enjoying the nose. The unique characteristic of the aroma of the wine, delivered by the bubbles intermittently floating to the surface of the wine via little tiny imperfections on the inside of the glass that completes the  experience. Without the nose, you may as well be drinking a glass of tonic water. Sparkling wine is wine after all, it simply turns into sparkling wine after a second fermentation process.  

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With a wide brimmed glass, your experience is more in favor of the nose, but you risk your drink going flat before you can say “salut!” But with a tall, slender champagne flute, you’re bubble-heavy without enjoying any of the nose (although you do suffer from that awkward moment with each sip where your nose taps the rim of your glass). So what is one to do in order to enjoy the true richesse of the sparkling wine experience?

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Drink from a glass that has the best of both worlds, of course! Tried and true wine glass titans like Riedel and Spiegelau both offer sparkling wine glasses that are both tall and slender but have a slight tulip or bubble towards the middle of the glass, with a slightly wider mouth (Riedel Vitis Champagne glass is pictured above). This allows the nose to come through at the appropriate location in the glass for the drinker’s enjoyment, while preserving the bubbles enough that you’re not drinking wine as flat as a bad joke. Makes sense when you think about it, doesn’t it?

While we love the history and brilliance of the story behind the saucer-style glass, as well as the nod to deco glassware, the impracticality of these glass styles just doesn’t seem to trump the reason for the glass in the first place- to enjoy a brilliant glass of sparkling wine. After all, what is the purpose of drinking wine if not to enjoy it?

Salut, everyone!

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Looking for more? You can visit our Tasting Room, located in the heart of Willamette Valley Wine Country, daily from 11:00am-5:00pm where you can taste the legacy of Laurel Ridge Sparkling Wine for yourself. We hope to see you soon!

note: this post contains affiliate links

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