Tag Archive | Southern Oregon

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…


Wine, Water and Caves

What do caves, deep blue lakes and wineries have in common?  We visited each of them on our August long weekend getaway.

Jon and I rented a house with his parents for a long weekend down in Southern Oregon.  Our home away from home was a large house right on the Rogue River in Grants Pass, Oregon, complete with a pool, game room and hot tub.  The home itself was dated, but the location and the amenities made up for that.

We had a wonderful long weekend visiting the Oregon Caves National Monument, Crater Lake National Park, wineries and the historic town of Jacksonville.

I can’t wait to share the details with you in my upcoming posts!

Glacial Lake Missoula: 2011 Gamay Noir

Tonight Jon cracked open the Glacial Lake Missoula 2011 Gamay Noir.  It is the first vintage of this Gamay Noir, which is sourced from Rebecca’s Vineyard in Southern Oregon.

Glacial Lake Missoula is located in Blaine, Washington, near home.  This local winery produces small batch wines, sourcing from some of the best vineyards in Washington and Oregon.  The 2011 Gamay Noir is sourced from Rebecca’s Vineyard in the Umpqua Valley, in southern Oregon.  The higher temperatures make for a more robust wine than the grapes from the Willamette Valley further north.

The wine has a ripe blackberry nose, and is fruit forward with flavors of blackberry and cherry.  It has very low tannins and a mellow acidity.  It was made by bleeding off 25% of the juice, and aging the rest for eight months in new French Oak Hogsheads.

This is a drink now wine, so enjoy!

Troon Dry Riesling: Some Apple with my Brisket!

Today was a lazy Sunday.  I stayed up late with friends last night, way past my usual bedtime, and for some reason I wasn’t able to sleep past 7:30 this morning.  So I had a relaxing, lazy morning, and cut up some veggies and threw them in the crock-pot with a corned beef brisket.  When Jon left to go workout – I took an awesome nap!  It was heavenly – Martini and I snuggled in, and couldn’t wake up when our alarm went off, so we turned it off and went back to sleep!  It has been awhile since I’ve had a great nap like that, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

After I got up from my nap, Jon and I went for a long walk and had some tea.  When we got home, we just kicked back and waited for our brisket to finish up.  I opened up a bottle of the 2010 Troon Dry Riesling that we had tasted on our Southern Oregon trip in August 2011.  Troon is one of the older vineyards in Oregon, opening in 1972.  They have their vineyard in the Applegate Valley and another in Carlton, and they mostly make small lots. They use a minimalist style of wine-making, preferring to let the natural flavors in the wine shine through.

This Dry Riesling tastes exactly like a Golden Delicious apple, with just the right touch of sweetness.  It has a nice yellow color and a tartness at first sip which lingers while slowly softening on the palate.  It complemented our brisket nicely, offsetting the salty flavor of the corned beef.  I imagine this wine would also go well with a salty brie or blue cheese, and certainly dark chocolate!

Troon Dry Riesling with slow-cooked Corned Beef Brisket

I will definitely pick this one up again!

Down South – Del Rio Vineyards Pinot Noir

For our first vacation in many moons, Jon and I headed down to southern Oregon to visit Crater Lake and the Rogue River Valley.  Our first day was a long, long drive.  It was made even longer by Jon’s periodic outbursts about the traffic.  UGH.

So, by the time we got down to Medford and checked into the Medford Red Lion, I was completely pooped and ready for a glass of wine.  We went to Safeway and decided to try out a local Pinot Noir, the Del Rio Vineyards 2009 vintage.  The nose is very mild, and doesn’t have much of what I think is the typical Pinot Noir pickle smell.  The taste is very light, with a soft light mouthfeel as well.  I find the taste to be like ripe blackberry, with a hint of Bing cherry.  There was none of the tartness that Pinot Noirs usually have.  Jon says it is more of a French style Pinot.  When we do more tasting in this region, I’ll find out if this is a regional distinction, or just this particular wine.

We both really enjoyed this wine, will certainly get it again.  Jon says, and I quote, “it was delicious… I slurped my tongue on it.”  He said this in a robot voice, by the way.  I’m not sure what that means, but what’s new?