Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Provisions Tasting at Soter Vineyards, Willamette Valley

Today, a visit to a winery can offer so much more than a wine tasting. There are vineyard tours, reserve tastings, meeting the winemaker, food pairings and barrel tastings. Each of these experiences enhance the wine tasting experience, leaving a lasting memory. On my visit to Soter Vineyards in the Willamette Valley, my friend and I sat down for the Provisions Tasting, which offers a sampling of the current release wines paired with small plates crafted from the produce and meat grown on their biodynamic farm. From the moment we pulled up to Soter Vineyard until the moment we drove away, the Provisions Tasting at Soter Vineyards was extraordinary and that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Mineral Springs Ranch is a 240-acre oak savanna in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Soter Vineyards is the 32 acre estate vineyard and the entire property is a biodynamic estate owned by Tony and Michelle Soter.

We drove up the long driveway to the top of Mineral Springs Ranch.

At the top of the hill is the Soter Vineyards Tasting Room. The rectangular wood barn looks rustic from the outside but is anything but rustic on the inside. 

As we walked up to the entrance, we were greeted by a friendly young woman who checked us in and offered us a glass of the 2018 North Valley Rosé. The mouthwatering rosé with aromas of strawberry, grapefruit and watermelon candy is made from Pinot Noir sourced from throughout the Northern Willamette Valley.

As we arrived a little early, we decided to wander around the building, taking in the views.

Inside, the space is large and spacious with an open kitchen. For guests, there are long communal tables, smaller group tables and couches centered around a fireplace. With floor to ceiling windows, there is a warm, cozy and inviting feeling at Soter Vineyards. The friendly staff definitely contribute to the feeling.

We sat down at our table and I loved the personalized touch of writing each guests’ name on their menu.

The first food board sent out was a Crudite board with tonnato and cucumber gazpacho. With the fresh crisp vegetables, we enjoyed a glass of the Soter 2015 Mineral Springs Brut Rosé, otherwise known as Soter-Pop. Lively and bright, the traditional method  sparkling wine has notes of dried strawberry, rose and brioche.

The next course was a bite-sized Trotter Cake with MSR (Mineral Springs Ranch) pickle aioli. This crispy little bite paired perfectly with the 2017 North Valley Chardonnay. The wine, with aromas of apple, pear and citrus, is bright and creamy on the palate and the acidity cut through the fried cakes. This was the most perfect pairing of the tasting.

Each tasting has a dedicated host and our host Beki was professional, personable and engaging. But, what impressed me the most was her knowledge about the Soter wines but also about wine in general. It is beyond refreshing to be in a winery tasting room with staff who are knowledgeable and not perpetuating incorrect information.

Our Pinot Noir flight included three wines. The 2016 Origin Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills is part of the Origin Series which reflect the unique qualities of each region in the Northern Willamette Valley. This Pinot Noir, sourced from the Dundee Hills, has notes of cranberry, raspberry and cinnamon. The 2016 Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot Noir has aromas of blackberry, mint and licorice. The 2015 Soter Mineral Springs White Label Pinot Noir has aromas of strawberries, cherries, cola and cedar box.

The Pinot Noirs were paired with a selection of items: Corn Pudding with white cheddar curds and peppers, Pole Bean Salad with brown butter, hazelnut and colatura vinaigrette, Pasta fazzoletti with kale and potato pesto and MSR Fried Chicken with red currant cornbread and chicken liver.  

For dessert, we enjoyed Wild Plum Ice Cream on top of olive oil cake and revisited the  Soter 2015 Mineral Springs Brut Rosé because it is just too good not to want more!

After our tasting, we were not rushed out of the space but moved to the couches while they reset for the next tasting. We finished up our wine, purchased a few bottles and left with friendly smiles and goodbyes and full stomachs.

The Soter wines are beautiful, the food was delicious and the service was impeccable and that is why the Provisions Tasting at Soter Vineyard is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

The Provisions Tasting at Soter Vineyards is offered Friday – Monday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Advance appointment is required. The cost is $100 per person ($70 for Club Members).