At Andrew Turner’s Valley Wine Merchants in historic downtown Newberg, you’ll find more than 200 Oregon pinot noirs—the largest selection in the Willamette Valley—in addition to wines from Champagne, Burgundy, Napa and Sonoma. For the last decade, Turner managed the Ponzi Wine Bar in Dundee; before that, he was a chef at Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa, and cooked in notable kitchens including Fleur de Lys (San Francisco), Patina (Los Angeles) and Bouley (New York City). He set up shop in a restored 1940s-era building, with warm wood tones and floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with bottles instead of books. The remarkable half-bottle selection hovers near 100 and spotlights Champagnes from small growers like Veuve Fourny & Fils, local producers—yes, that is a vertical of Cristom— and small-production pinots from up-and-comers like iOTA, including a few micro-cuvées bottled exclusively for the shop. (On Friday nights, Turner hosts pop-up tastings for upstart wineries.) Sidle up to the back bar—a 2,000-year-old, nine-foot-long redwood slab given to Turner by his grandfather—and he’ll uncork cellar selections like a 1983 Knudsen Erath Vintage Select Pinot Noir or a 1992 Diamond Creek Cabernet. Then order small bites from a menu of local charcuterie and cheese, house-cured vegetables and farmers’ market compotes.
This review appears in the print edition of the June 2015 issue. Like what you just read? Subscribe now.