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The Oregon Wine Blog says, "Tyee is a must-stop destination if you are in the Willamette Valley. It's the perfect location to bring a picnic lunch and crack open a nice cool white on a summer afternoon. You won't find more welcoming winery owners than the Buchanan's, further epitomizing the great spirit and attitude of the Oregon wine industry."
Tyee Wine Cellars featured in Travel and Leisure Magazine October 2011 Willamette Valley's Boutique Vineyards by Bruce Schoenfeld
"One afternoon I drove to see Merrilee Buchanan Benson at Tyee Wine Cellars, an under-the-radar property founded by her parents, who first planted grapes in the valley back in 1974. We sat under 400-year-old oaks, ate a picnic lunch, and drank a 1999 Pinot Noir. It was salmon-colored, typical of light-bodied Pinots with some age, and unobtrusive. Yet each time I took a sip, it had gained richness and body and character, as great Burgundies characteristically do. I know people who’d fly across the Atlantic to taste just such a wine, but they overlook the Willamette because bottles like that one never reach their doorstep. And besides wine professionals, the only person I know who has ever visited Tyee, a good 20 minutes from the bulk of the valley’s wineries, is ... me.
Now 37, Buchanan Benson became the winemaker in 2006, after two decades of modest success for Tyee. She’d studied enology and had her own ideas, so she stopped using oak for the Chardonnay to help the fruit shine through, and started harvesting Pinot Noir in three passes to make sure all the berries were ripe. She cut production nearly in half because she didn’t want any grapes that weren’t grown on her family’s property. “I come from this farm,” she said, “and I’m excited about having people experience it.”
Chuck Hill with Wines Northwest recommends Tyee Estate 2006 Barrel Select Pinot Noir as part of his Pinot Noir with Copper River Salmon Tasting. He writes, "Winemaker Merrilee Buchanan Benson crafted this attractive wine from a blend of Pommard and Dijon 115 clone fruit grown at the winery near Corvallis, OR. Oak aging in 30% new barrels gives the wine some backbone, as it shows medium-bodied character with aromas and flavors of black cherry, berries, baking spice and smoky cranberry. It is very food friendly and a good value for a complex Oregon Pinot Noir."
About Tyee's Nature Trail, "There's much to be said for a place that stands still in time yet can be freely navigated. Tyee Cellars and the Buchanan Century Farm have adapted to the last two generation's love for local wine without losing hold of the pastoral context that brought them to today." - Mark Stock
2007 Tyee Estate Pinot Noir and 2008 Tyee Estate Pinot Gris both win Silver Medals in the 2010 National Women Winemakers Competition.
Here's what Allen Meadows of Burghound has to say about Tyee's 2006 Estate Barrel Select Pinot Noir, "A pretty and attractively nuanced nose offers a variety of red fruit aromas that include cherry, cranberry and raspberry and lead to delicious, fresh and lilting middle weight flavors that culminate in a linear, focused and largely fruit-driven finish that does not lack for personality or depth. This is not a big or powerful effort but it is balanced, harmonious and very pinot plus it delivers very good value. 88/2012+"
The Wine Whisperer on Tyee Estate Gewurztraminer - "The offering from Tyee is splendid, long in the palate, spicy in the nose and eminently refreshing with just about any fare. This wine is dry, redolent of all spice, cinnamon and a hint of what appeared to be caramel."
The Wine Whisperer on Tyee Estate Pinot Gris - "The release from Tyee is very, very good on all levels and the wonderful flavors seemingly go on forever. I can't remember a Gris with such a wonderful length, lovely, up flavors and such a complex bouquet as the Tyee. This is a very nice wine."
Winegrowers, quite logically, feel a close connection to the land. Tyee Wine Cellars owners Dave and Margy Buchanan feel even more so because Dave’s family has owned the land on which their winery and estate vineyard are situated since 1885. The 450 acres that remain in family hands were designated as a Century Farm in 1985. Having planted their first vinifera winegrapes in 1974, the Buchanans were among northwestern Oregon’s first wave of new-era wine pioneers.