Tag Archive | Rogue River

The Applegate Valley Wine

After our visit to Jacksonville, Oregon, we decided to check out a couple of wineries!  The Applegate Valley is one of the most overlooked wine regions in the country, with outstanding wines and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.  Our first winery stop was Wooldridge Creek Winery. We pulled in to find an amazing covered seating area with cushioned patio furniture, a classy yet inviting tasting room with several books available to read, and another outdoor patio with tables and chairs. Jon’s dad wasn’t interested in wine tasting so he plopped down outside in the shade to read his book.

The winery named after the Wooldridge family who first settled on the property in the 1850s – this isn’t the same family that owns the property and the winery now though.  The first grapevines at Wooldridge Creek were planted in the 1970s; it has now expanded to 56 acres planted in twelve varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo.  However, until 2002, the owners sold all their fruit to other wineries; at that point they met and partnered with a wine-making couple to start the winery.

We began our tasting in the tasting room, but soon the draw of the warm sunshine was too much. Our server was very gracious about loading up our tasting on a tray with mini decanters and tasting information for each wine. As I think back on it now (on a gray, rainy day in frigid January), I wish I were back there soaking up the warm rays of the sun!

Wooldridge Creek Winery

Wooldridge Creek Winery

The wine was delicious – I did find that I liked the reds more than the whites though.  The French oak aged Chardonnay was a hit with Jon, but a little too oaked for my taste – good for a taste but too much for a whole glass. There was a Viognier that was quite enjoyable – which was a bit unusual because I don’t typically like many Viogniers. Jon’s mom really enjoyed that one. The reds were wonderful – balanced and approachable while still having lots of structure.  We tasted Merlot, Pinot Noir and Malbec.

After Wooldridge, we visited Troon Winery. Jon and I had been there before, and Jon had wanted to go back. We wanted to be outside again, so we shuttled back and forth between the tasting room and the seating area outside. That was a little bit awkward, but it was to be expected as the server had her hands full with other customers. She did tell us a bit about each wine when we came in to get our sample, but it seemed a bit more impersonal than our visit in 2011.

Troon Winery from our covered seating

Troon Winery from our covered seating

That said, Troon’s wine is excellent – not a bad one in the bunch. Ironically, when we visited in 2011 the Druid’s Fluid red blend was my least favorite wine, but it is the biggest seller for the winery. This year, they didn’t have Druid’s Fluid on the tasting menu, so I don’t know if I would have liked it more now.  We ended up getting several wines to bring home with us.  For some reason though, I always forget that Troon now has a tasting room in the Willamette Valley, so we will have to stop by there sometime when we are down that way.

After our two tasting room visits, we wrapped up our day and headed back to the rental house to enjoy one last quiet evening on the river before heading home.  We swam in the pool, read books, watched the Canada Geese flying overhead to their night roosts, and heard the hum of the jet boats as they took tourists back home after the dinner tour (I so want to take that jet boat tour one day!).

Canada Geese flying home for the night

Canada Geese flying home for the night

We had to be up before dawn in the morning, because Jon had misunderstood what days he was supposed to get off from work.  I had planned for us to spend a leisurely day Tuesday driving home and then go back to work Wednesday, but Jon thought we were coming home on Monday.  He had scheduled himself to work at 2 pm on Tuesday, expecting that he would have a quiet morning at home to sleep in and get some things done.  Obviously that wasn’t going to happen!  Considering that the drive home (without traffic) is 8 hours, we set the alarm for 3 am to get home in time.

We were on the road at 3:17 am! It’s not often that I watch a summer sunrise from the road, but I caught this one. Our early morning travel all worked out in the end though, as we made it home with enough time to get some lunch and essentials at the grocery store before Jon had to go to work.  And I had the whole afternoon to take a leisurely nap, unpack and relax for going back to work on Wednesday. It was a nice end to a great long weekend…

 

Crater Lake Beauty and Some Sneezing Too

Once we got to Medford, we had a restful first night and woke up just before 8.  Jon had big plans to take a run in the morning, but he abandoned that idea when it came time to get up early.  To be honest, I’m pretty glad that he decided to relax – he doesn’t do enough of it.  We got up, had some breakfast, and headed out to Crater Lake.  Most of our family and friends have been to Crater Lake, but they have neglected to take me or Jon with them, so it was a first visit for both of us.

After a couple of hours of driving up into the National Forest, along the Rogue River, we made it there.  We did stop along the way at a Rogue River Viewpoint and hiked a little way up the path.  The signs explained that the river is a frigid 44 degrees at this elevation.  Not really water I would be excited to jump into, to be honest.  But the river is beautiful.  After 15 minutes watching the river, we continued the last little way to Crater Lake.

The Rogue River

The Rogue River

WOW – we were not disappointed.  When standing on the rim of the crater, you look down more than 1000 feet to the lake.  The tour boats below look like little bugs on the water.  And everything they say about the pristine cobalt blue color is absolutely true.  The water is the most amazing blue.  The depth of the lake and the clarity of the water make it so all the other colors in the spectrum are lost in the depth of the lake, and only the blue and purple hues are reflected back.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

We looked at the lake from all angles.  We sat on the wall looking down and enjoying the serenity.  Even though there are dozens of people around you, it still feels very peaceful.  We also visited the lodge which was built back in 1915.  It is still operating today, after extensive renovations in the 1990’s.  One day we would like to stay there for a night, but it was booked for the entire summer long before we decided to take this trip.

The unfortunate part of the trip to Crater Lake was that Jon was violently allergic to something that day.  He started sneezing early in the day, and his sneezing kept up even after he took multiple doses of allergy/cold medication.  I felt really bad for him, because I know how drowsy I get when I take those meds.  He was a trooper, and didn’t complain at all, but I could tell it was really getting to him.

On our way back to town, we stopped at our first winery of the trip.  It was an impulse stop, a winery called Agate Ridge that we had never heard of before.  The tasting room manager, Sharryl, served us, and she was welcoming and friendly.  We tasted through 7 wines, starting with a Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, a white blend called Weeknight White, Primitivo, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wines were excellent, with the exception of the Viognier, which I didn’t like.  The Cabernet Sauvignon pleased Jon without being overly oaked, so I could enjoy it too.

Agate Ridge Vineyard Tasting Room

Sharryl recommended that we visit a tasting room in Central Point, Oregon that houses Daisy Creek Vineyard and Madrone Mountain Vineyard.  We were served by Don Mixon, the owner and winemaker for Madrone Mountain.  Daisy Creek wines were hit or miss, with some being outstanding, and others being ho-hum.  I really liked their Rose, and bought a bottle.  The reds were decent, but nothing to write home about.

Madrone Mountain Vineyard focuses on Dessert wines.  They had a Riesling and two Cab based Port-style reds out that day.  Apparently when they were first starting out, they had Joe Dobbes from Dobbes Family Estate make the wines for them (the reds we tasted were still from the Joe Dobbes winemaking days, so I’ll be curious to visit again and see how the owner has done).  Since they have learned more about the art of wine production, they have taken over the winemaking.  The wines were very good (the other couples in the tasting room raved about the Riesling).  What surprised me most is that Jon liked the Port-style reds so much.  He couldn’t get enough, so we came home with a bottle of each, the Mundo Novo and the 2004 Vintage (Don explained that he hadn’t yet come up with the cool name yet in 2004).

We ended our day with a visit to RoxyAnn Winery, a large winery located just outside of Medford.  We went on our way back to our hotel.  On our Friday evening visit, the winery was packed!  They were hosting a small farmer’s market, and there was an upcoming concert on the back lawn.  There were so many people there, it felt very impersonal.  Our server was very good, keeping track of where we were even though she was serving about 15 other people, but it was elbow to elbow, and so loud and busy you couldn’t ask any questions.  Again, we thought the wines we decent, but not out of this world.  The exception was the Claret, a red blend that is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Combine the crazy atmosphere with Jon’s horrible allergy attack, and we didn’t spend much time there.

We got some dinner and headed back to the hotel, to enjoy some wine and have a nice relaxing swim in the pool.  A great end to a fantastic day.