We went looking for Terrapin Cellars on Saturday. According to our source materials, the wine is produced in Rickreall, just west of Salem. We arrived in the small town by mid-afternoon and looked around a bit, but we didn’t see Terrapin. I don’t know if I imagined a shrine to the classic Grateful Dead album or what, but it wasn’t there. We asked a local walking his two dogs and he said the winery–he couldn’t think of its name–was on the edge of town. That’s the lead we were looking for, so we motored over there and found Eola Hills ready and waiting to serve.
Unlike most of the wine tasting rooms we’ve been to recently, Eola Hills didn’t charge us to taste their value-conscious wines. They did ask for a $5 fee on their higher end wines, but then they applied those fees to the purchase of wine, so there was no tasting fee after all. While there, we inquired about Terrapin and the woman said, oh yes, Terrapin is made on premise. Then she dodged off to get me the winemaker’s phone number. It turns out lots of winemakers produce their wine at Eola Hills. So, for those in the Amity Eola Hills area with grapes and the requisite know how, but no winery, there’s a community-oriented production option. Pretty cool.
As for Eola Hills, their wine is pretty decent for the price. Most bottles we sampled were going for $13 or $14. Some of their higher end offerings were $25 to $50. Their $50 bottle, the 2006 Oregon “Wolf Hill” Clone 667 Pinot Noir is right up there with the best of them. The complexity of Wolf Hill kept coming and coming. I’d love to take an entire bottle for a ride some night.