The Willamette Valley is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Oregon. Briefly, AVAs are wine production areas designated by the U.S. Government. If a vintner claims to be from a particular AVA, 85% of the grapes used in their wine must be from there.
This area is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. This climate, and flooding that occurred at the end of the last Ice Age, has produced some extremely arable land.
Terroir can be an agricultural term and is the interaction of climate, geology and plant genetics to influence the outcome of a harvest, in this case grapes. This area is know for it's superior terroir. As far as grapes go, the terroir in this area is similar to the Burgundy region of France. The Willamette Valley is known for it's wines, especially Pinot Noir. What really started the whole thing going in this area was Eyrie Vineyards. They scored 2nd in a prestigious blind taste competition in the Burgundy region of France in the 1970's. Fast forward to the 21st century, and this area produces world-class wines.
WillaKenzie Estate is a vintner in the Willamette Valley, specifically in the Yamhill-Carlton sub-appellation (sub-region) of the Willamette Valley AVA. They have been producing wines in this region for about 20 years.
They were recently in Naples, FL for a tasting of their wares.
The event was held in downtown Naples, at the Inn on 5th.
As you walk into the inn,
you enter the lobby area,
which led up to the room
which had a very nice balcony area where the tasting was held.
There were sampling a number of wines that day
two of which, the Reserve and Blanc De Pinots, were only available to those attending the tasting.
Most generously, they also gave attendees an opportunity to win a Magnum of reserve Pinot Noir.
One of the co-founders of the winery, Ronni Lacroute, was there,
if you had any questions and/or wanted to discuss her wines in depth.
There were also a number of excellent food pairings with the wines provided to attendees prepared by Inn on 5th's chef, David Nelson.
Displayed items included mozzarella and tomato skewers with balsamic glaze and arugula,
and a very nice charcuterie plate.
Passed items included mini Beef Wellington,
bacon wrapped scallops,
grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup
and toasted coriander seed seasoned lamb rib chops with lemon yogurt dressing.
Hats off to WillaKenzie Estate and The Inn on 5th for a great evening of wine and food. If WillaKenzie Estate comes back to Naples, FL or to an area near you please try to go. The wines are excellent and the food pairings (as judged by the Naples, FL tasting) sublime. These tastings are highly recommended.
It's a wrap for another post on Forks.
19143 NE Laughlin Rd
Yamhill, OR 97148
The Inn on 5th
699 5th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102