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14 August, 2022

Abbey Road Farm and Verdant

Posted in : Dining in Yamhill-Carlton - OR, Tasting Rooms in Yamhill-Carlton - OR, Wine Media Conference 2021 on by : The Gourmez

Abbey Road Farm is a delightful gem in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA that I visited as part of the 2021 Wine Media Conference (WMC). I felt inspired to devote a whole blog post to it after that visit. Why? Because it offers more than just a winery, though being a winery is generally quite appealing! But Abbey Road Farm is also a farm, a bed & breakfast, and host to an amazing restaurant, wine incubator, and this amazing view:

Lavender and lush beauty at Abbey Farm Roads

If that WMC excursion had been held at Abbey Road Farms all day, I would not have complained. Once solely a grass seed farm, it now has 40 acres devoted to grapevines and they produce 14 varietals. But they hold tight to that farm heritage, with plenty of sweet farm animals to make friends with close to the tasting room and terrace.

Those animals also make charming appearances on each bottle of Abbey Road Farms wine.

The afternoon’s tastings.

As Abbey Road Farms is a wine incubator, they help other wineries with small yields get a chance to shine as well. Their wine club offers a great variety of wines from each member of their collective for adventurous wine lovers to explore.

Verdant, Abbey Road Farm’s restaurant, is plenty adventurous on its own. Overnight guests feast on their sumptuous breakfast. We enjoyed a delicious lunch. You never quite know the caliber of dining you’ll get on a wine trip. Sometimes it’s decent food truck burgers. Other times? Heaven. I remember the lovely autumnal feast I had at Chateau LaFayette Renau in the Finger Lakes, during WMC15, quite fondly, one of my favorite wine dining experiences with a bountiful table overflowing.

I knew the second that Abbey Road Farms’ escabeche hit the table, we were in for that heavenly type of experience at Verdant as well.

The herbs used (chive, bay, dill) to enliven the escabeche were so well-considered, as was the Abbey Road Farm 2020 Demi-Sec Sparkling Pinot pairing. The wine’s tight bubbles, dash of lime acidity, and overall sweetness soaked up the delightful play between the savory clam and sweet mussel meats.

The second course’s spot-prawn aguachile with pineapple weed, sansho, finger lime, tomato, cucumber, and ground cherry were stunning.

A visual feast first and foremost, and each of its floral and leafy elements added a fresh, green savory element to the dish as well. The fruits tasted as though their true essences were on display.

The first of two main courses was miso cod with black olives, summer squash, and bouillabaisse. Sadly, the squash was a little lost in all the other strong flavors, but the cod’s skin was so perfectly crisped and each flavor so delicious, I can only complain so much. The 2019 Statera Cellars Chardonnay added some butter and lemon notes to the dish.

Main Course #2 went to game: Duck breast with beets, carrots, chanterelles, and liver sauce. I love duck, and I love beets and carrots. I do not love rare meat, mushrooms, or iron-rich innards, so this dish was not for me. Though I enjoyed the veggies quite a bit; who can resist them when they are rustically roasted, stems and leaves left on?

The duck course was paired with 2019 Abbey Road Farm Canton Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, which is a pinot noir aged in amphora vats—quite unique for the Yamhill-Carlton AVA! For most of the USA, for that matter. Its layers were still tightly wound, but great notes of mulberry, straw, and spices may be blooming by now.

Our final course was a brilliant idea: ice cream made with grape lees, the vegetal matter that remains after wine is extracted, sometimes before, sometimes after fermentation. It was served with frozen green grapes and gelee made from the same pinot gris lees. I savored every single bite, in part because grape ice cream is hard to find! Having one made from the lees was a true treat.

But then we headed to the tasting room, and I could not help but think that view was the biggest treat of all.

This location would be a wonderful place for an overnight stay. Imagine waking up to that, and then taking a short walk to a 5-course brunch at Verdant. I have a new addition to my “Must Vacation Here” list. Thanks to Chef Will Preisch and his crew for hosting us, and the Yamhill-Carlton Winegrowers for sponsoring the excursion.

Visited 8 August 2021.

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