I visited Oregon’s Hillcrest Winery with a group of wine writers and we were given a complimentary tasting and tour. There’s so much to love about the experience at this winery, but the wines were just not to my palate at all. I’m not sure if any of these wines would appeal to many people, but they do actually sell them to consumers so that means somebody enjoys them. For me, it was a no-go as far as the wines are concerned.
I should’ve known we were in trouble when our host said that “it’s the flaws that make wine interesting.” I wouldn’t say flaws make wine “interesting,” especially here. The wines I was poured ranged from slightly undrinkable to something I wouldn’t consume if I was dying of thirst. I know that sounds harsh, but it is what it is. It was unanimous among the 20 of us in the group that the rose was horrible. As a wine lover and writer, I hate to use that word, but it fits here.
Hillcrest is known for their Pinot Noir, but the one I was poured was forgettable. I supposed it would be something to purchase to have in your cellar “just because,” but I did not enjoy anything about this wine.
The Malbec fared a bit better, with a beautiful dark, almost purple color. The nose was the best of the bunch, but the extremely high tannins made the wine far too coarse to be enjoyed. Even food wouldn’t calm down this rough around the edges wine.
The historic winery (the oldest estate winery in Oregon) is beautiful for photo ops, they have an adorable winery dog, and the dry farming techniques are to be applauded. All of these things make Hillcrest worth a visit, but lower your expectations for what’s in the bottle. Their wine was the worst I had in the Umpqua Valley.