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Dobbes Family Estate Winery offers tastings and tours


SUBMITTED PHOTOS: DOBBES FAMILY ESTATE WINERY - Joe Dobbes, founder and winemaker of Dobbes Family Estate Winery.

The more I learn about wine, the more I realize how little I know. Thank goodness there are experts who love sharing their knowledge.

My friend, Lauren Barnes, is the marketing director for Dobbes Family Estate Winery, and she recently invited me to spend an afternoon touring the winery with founder and winemaker Joe Dobbes. I love an excuse for a field trip, so gladly accepted and took the scenic drive to the winemaking facilities in Dundee.

Joe has three decades of wine-making experience behind him. He began his career in 1985, apprenticing at Weingut Erbhof Tesch in Germany’s Nahe region and at Dominique G. Roumier and Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Burgundy, France. He then further honed his skills working in Alsace with Domaine Ostertag.

When he returned to the U.S., he produced wine for Elk Cove Vineyards, Eola Hills, Hinman/Sylvan Ridge, Paschal Winery and Willamette Valley Vineyards before launching Wine by Joe LLC, a custom winemaking company, in 2002. He started out crafting wines for 20 clients, producing Dobbes Family Estate, a luxury label dedicated to Willamette Valley pinot noir, Rogue Valley Syrah and Grenache Blanc; and Wine by Joe, a value-priced Oregon appellation label. In 2005, he added Jovino, producing pinot noir and pinot gris exclusively for restaurant use.

Joe explained that the grapes used for his wines come from a variety of vineyards in the Willamette and Rogue valleys, including Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountain, Eola-Amity and McMinnville appellations, a term describing the location where the grapes were grown. He says the fruit is carefully selected from vineyards with differing elevations, soil types and grape clones. Dobbes’ single-vineyard wines are an expression of each vineyard’s unique terrior (how climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of wine), while cuvees (a French term meaning vat or casks) are blends that showcase the art of blending while staying true to vintage and varietal character.

While we visited the lab, I spied Joe’s notebook, where he handwrites information about the blends he is creating. He didn’t have to worry that I would decipher the code and walk away with his award-winning secret recipes, though; it was far too complex for me.

But what I did bring away was a deeper appreciation of the science and art involved in producing exceptional wines, and a belief that Joe’s talents shine through in every bottle he produces.

During Barb Randall's tour of Dobbes winemaking facilities, she watched as Wine by Joe was bottled.

As luck would have it, the crew was bottling Wine by Joe the day I visited, so I got to watch that process.

The Dobbes Family Estate Wine portfolio includes Cuvee Pinot Noir, including Grand Assemblage, Amelia Rose Cuvee, Griffin’s Cuvee and Patricia’s Cuvee (named for Joe’s daughter, son and wife); Single-Vineyard Pinot Noirs from Quailhurst Vineyard, Meyer Vineyard, Symonette Vineyard and Momtazi Vineyard; Syrahs, including Grand Assemblage, Fortmiller Vineyard and Port; and Whites including Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Late Harvest Viognier.

Wines by Joe include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.

My favorites from what I’ve sampled so far? Griffin’s Cuvee, Grenache Blanc and Wine by Joe Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. How can simple fruit produce such complex flavor?

Winemaking is definitely an art form and, in my opinion, Oregon wines truly are the best of the best. But don’t take my word that Dobbes Family Estate Wines are delightful — try them for yourself. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. You can even make a reservation for a tour if you call ahead to 503-538-1141, ext. 118.

Griffins Cuvee is one of Barb Randall's favorite Dobbes Family Estate pinot noirs.

On June 26, Dobbes Family Estate will hold its Last Friday Social, beginning at 5 p.m.; on the Fourth of July, you can take part in the day-long Red, White and New event. Other events are planned throughout the summer. Learn more online at dobbesfamilyestate.com/events.

Dobbes Family Estate Winery is located at 240 S.E. Fifth St. in Dundee. You can’t miss it — go west on Hwy 99 and turn left at the first Dundee stoplight.

Lauren Barnes shares this recipe for Grilled Steak and Halloumi cheese kebabs. She suggests pairing them with a 2012 Griffin’s Cuvee Pinot Noir.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Michelle D’s Grilled Steak and Halloumi Kebabs on a bed of Lemon-Infused Couscous

Serves 8

Couscous:

2 cups couscous

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 32-ounce can chicken broth

Kebabs:

2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into 11?„2-inch cubes

2 red or orange peppers, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, stems removed

2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 pound halloumi* cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

To make the couscous: Boil broth, add lemon juice and zest, pour over bowl of dry couscous, let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.

To make kebabs: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread steak, peppers, onions, mushrooms and halloumi onto skewers. Lightly oil the grill. Place skewers on grill and cook for 10 minutes or until desired doneness. Serve skewers on a bed of the lemon-infused couscous.

*Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made of a mixture of sheep and goat milk.

Recipe courtesy of Dobbes Family Estate

Barb Randall welcomes your food question and research suggestions. She can be reached online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 503-636-1281 ext. 100. Follow her on Twitter@barbrandallfood.