Oregon wine country: Go for the pinot noir
CARLTON, Ore. — Driving southwest from Portland an hour or so through the suburbs, you hit the heart of Oregon's wine country rather suddenly. Here the mountainous Coast Range slopes to the Willamette Valley floor, which is smothered with vineyards that produce some of the best pinot noir on earth.
Almost too quickly, you're far from Portland and into lush, green farmland where white-on-blue signs – often several to a post, flipping past like roadside ads for Burma Shave – point up quiet, twisty roads toward small, family-run wineries.
Oregon is home to some 500 wineries. After California, which produces 90 ...