For a fresh take on Willamette Valley wines, visit Portland’s new urban tasting rooms

In and around Portland, Oregon, a new generation of urban wineries and tasting rooms opened this year, giving wine lovers new ways to taste the Willamette Valley from the city. From a gleaming, state-of-the-art vineyard perched in the western hills to an Irvington tasting room that expertly pairs pinot and riesling with single-origin chocolate, plus a suburban restaurant with plenty of options for flights along the Pacific Northwest cuisine – these are the new destinations to taste the wines of the Willamette Valley without having to travel to the wine country.

Amaterra Urban Wine Estate

Prepare to be wowed by the scope and scale of Amaterra Winery, a modern marvel perched high in Portland’s West Hills. This ambitious project – which spanned many years – not only includes an urban winemaking facility, but also a 12-acre vineyard, upscale restaurant, wine and cocktail bar, and event space with lush grounds and sprawling. Plus it has views for days.

Is it a waterfall you see rolling down the slopes of the hills? And are there lawn games that are played on the lawn? Why yes. Are these the Coast Range mountains you see in the distance? On a clear day, yeah. And is it a marriage proposal happening on the lawn? Certainly. Everything feels completely removed from town, yet only 15 minutes from downtown.

Visit Wednesday through Sunday between 12 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. for wine flights ($25) from Amaterra and its sister label, 51Weeks Winemaking, as well as small bites. The current tasting flight includes a Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Burst from the Willamette and Columbia valleys.

After 4:30 p.m., reserve a table for dinner and sip a drink, bottle or tasting flight alongside Executive Chef Jami Flatt’s elegant New American cuisine. Must-try dishes include Swede Hill meatballs (a nod to the Scandinavian immigrants who populated the area in the 1800s), seared scallops, vegetable risotto from the market and all the salads local seasonal products. All desserts are also winners.

Amaterra’s newest addition, L1 Bar & Terrace, also offers a rotating cocktail and G&T, as well as picnic boxes for two.

Reservations at Amaterra are highly recommended. Book one either by becoming a wine club member or by paying a one-time $25 social membership fee, which can be applied on your first visit to two bottles of wine to go, or refunded if you join the wine club.

Bons Amis Wine + Chocolate Tasting

Bons Amis (“good friends” in French) is a new experiential tasting room in the Willamette Valley Brooks Wine and Portland’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker chocolate on wood. The like-minded Oregon maker duo came together to highlight the parallels between growing estate grapes and making chocolate from single-origin cocoa — and just how great they can be delicious together when expertly paired.

Located in Woodblock’s French-inspired cafe in their bright and airy manufactory in Irvington, the tasting room cafe marks the first time Brooks, based in the hills of Eola Amity, has brought its biodynamic wines to Portland.

The signature deal ($30 per person) includes a quartet of 2018 Pinots Noirs from Brooks with signature chocolates from Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania and Madagascar. The savory/savory pairing ($30) features the sparkling 2016 Extended Tirage Riesling and four savory bites like cocoa-coated goat cheese. And the sweet/sweet option serves up a semi-sweet Riesling Cahiers 2018 alongside milk, dark milk, malted and coffee chocolate varieties.

There’s even an option for beer lovers: the appetizer ($15) includes a chocolate-infused brew of local favorites like wolves and peopleas well as tasty salt-brined cocoa beans and cocoa-dusted nuts.

No reservation is required, so come to Le Bon Amis on Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Willamette Valley Vineyards Lake Oswego Tasting Room and Restaurant

WVV has been making classic Oregon pinots since 1983, and its latest expansion is a satellite tasting room and restaurant on Lake Oswego’s State Street. The clean, sleek space features an impressive glass wine wall, wine racks, and a trellis patio with fire pits.

It’s a lovely setting to sip the enduring bubbles of Oregon, WVV’s chardonnay and pinot alongside chef Cory Rom’s Pacific Northwest-inspired dishes. Go for a fixed seasonal flight or opt for the custom itinerary ($20-25).

There’s also a seasonal three-course tasting menu with wine pairings ($96), or you can order entrees like sockeye salmon with Meyer lemon mousseline or Carmen Ranch prime rib a la carte and have custom wine pairings to your order for an additional $36.

WVV’s Lake Oswego Outpost is open Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Shirley M. Pinder