Summer afternoons were meant for friends! Vanessa, Lynn and I met at Cooper Mountain Vineyard midday on July 5. We arrived just before they opened at noon but enjoyed a warm welcome by two of the residential chickens.
My book group meets regularly to discuss what we are reading. Lynn is a kindergarten teacher so she tells me about what she’s reading. Lynn is a very special person in too many ways to count. She is always looking for ways to engage children in deep ways of thinking while learning the social and emotional skills to stick with difficult things.
Before teaching 5 year olds, Lynn was an art teacher. She notices the details that make everyday things extraordinary. She pointed out the patterns in the lush green rows of fresh cut alfalfa and the yellow lines of dry cut hay waiting to be baled. Lynn noticed the quilt like patchwork of hillside in the distance and delighted in the feather patterns of the two birds were yet another example of beauty abounds in the small things around us. The serene peace of the birds, as they went about their business of hunting for food in the grass, set the tone of our visit.
Undoubtedly, the people in our lives add to the richness of our experience. Without Lynn, I would not see texture or patterns. Though I’ve been to Cooper Mountain Vineyard on several occasions, I learn something new with Lynn. Our server Alisha also makes this experience extra special. Alisha was a gem! She came to Oregon from the Napa Valley area in March and her enthusiasm was contagious! She added the perfect layer of relaxed knowledge and charm to our visit. As we sat at a picnic table on the lawn under the shade of trees admiring the view, her energy magnified the beauty of Oregon summers.
The 2014 Old Vine Chardonnay was amazing! This wine was made with grapes planted on the property in 1978. The owner, a physician, was forward thinking so was a frontrunner in the area with “organic” and “biodynamic” certifications. This holistic way of farming gives this particular Chardonnay true to what’s happening taste. Because this particular vineyard is within a mile of my home, I tastes like home. I bring home a bottle to share with my husband.
The 2015 Pinot Gris pairs perfectly with the fresh fruit (white nectarines and cherries) we brought. Alisha describes this as “alsatian” style. She tells us that the grapes were left to hang a little longer to develop noble rot and thereby concentrated the grapes’ sugars. The grass were grown on the Johnson School Road property a few miles west. The bright, crisp wine is a new favorite as well. Wine like this makes me happy! It’s like summer, laughter, vacation, and tart dessert (like the lilikoi tart at McMenamins) all rolled into one joyfully energizing experience. The light sweetness brings out the wild-happy girl in me. I don’t bring a bottle home because I’m sure I would not share.
The 2014 Pinot Noir is described by Vanessa as a killer little pinot! Vanessa is also a teacher but at the high-school level. If the members of our book group were characters named like the Captain Planet and the Planeteers cast, Lynn would be BEAUTY and Vanessa would be JOY. Vanessa is excited about everything. She bubbles over with joy and the world around her changes with her zest for life!
Very smooth, with an almost rich floral scent, the 2014 Pinot Noir paired perfectly with smoked pork ribs (made especially for me by my son Joel on a Traegger grill ). I’m not known for my ability to make good food so my son always teases me about his amazing skills and says that he does it with love. He always cooks with love but when he cooks on a Traeger, the outcome is beyond description. Traeger Grills
The grapes for the 2014 Pinot Noir are sourced from a few different vineyards including Meadow Lark and Johnson School. This allows for a larger quantity to be produced. This is a good thing because Vanessa LOVES!
2016 Life Pinot Noir was made without the addition of sulfites. The family worked really hard to create bigger tannins allowing the grapes to get more sun during the growing process. This is done by removing leaves so that grapes have full sun. This rick, full Pinot Noir paired perfect with dark chocolate kisses.
Inside the tasting room, artwork is displayed. I’m not sure if I’ve noticed it before but Alisha, tells that the pieces was done by the owner. As if medicine and grape farming weren’t enough, he took up painting lessons a few years ago. My favorite piece was perched atop a barrel and depicted the view we’d just enjoyed.
The tasting room is open daily from noon-5:00pm. With live music on Friday evenings during the summer, this vineyard is worth a visit!
Dogs-Cooper Mt. is dog friendly if you have a friendly, well-behaved dog that will treat chickens with respect. There is a story about a dog/chicken encounter that sounds like it didn’t end well.
Restrooms-The restroom feels private and clean.
Feeling Tone Rating (Formal 1 to Feels Like Family 5)- 5 Stars!