Tag Archive | Tempranillo

Abacela 2012 Albariño

Tonight I opened up a bottle of the Abacela 2012 Albariño.  Before I got this bottle, I hadn’t heard of Abacela before, but when I saw that they had an Oregon Albariño, I just had to try it.

I looked up Abacela, and discovered that it was founded by a couple from Florida, who had come to love the Tempranillo grape that made up Rioja and Ribera Del Duero wines in Spain.  They learned that the United States grew very few Tempranillo grapes, and the ones there were typically ended up in cheap, California jug wines.  They set out to find the perfect climate in the U.S. for Tempranillo grapes, and ended up in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon, near Roseville.

Abacela 2012 Albariño

Abacela 2012 Albariño

But back to the Albariño.  While planting their vineyards with Tempranillo, they also set out to find other under-planted grape varietals that would do well in the region.  Albariño was one of those.  They have been making an Albariño since 2001, and the 2012 vintage does not disappoint.  Upon opening, this wine was crisp and citrusy, with flavors of green apple and lemongrass.  After the wine warmed up just a bit, a hint of creamy butter began showing through, softening and enhancing the apple flavors.  At either temperature, the wine has a tart kick at the back of the palate on the finish.

I really enjoyed this wine – it is one that I would certainly seek out again.  And after checking out the list of varietal wines on their webpage, I think we need to add Abacela to the list of wineries we need to visit.  What a pleasant surprise!

And in case you hadn’t already fallen in love, here’s an endearing bit of trivia.  According to the folks at Abacela, the winery is named as a derivation of the nearly obsolete Spanish, Galician and Portuguese verb abacelar, which means “to plant a grapevine.”

Memorial Weekend Wine Tour – Day 2

On Friday night we spent the night in Woodburn, Oregon, right near the outlet mall.  We started our day out by venturing over to the outlets, where Jon found a pair of nice shoes at Bass and we cleaned up at Columbia.  I got two nice lightweight summer jackets and Jon got a button down shirt.  With the shopping urges quenched, we made our way over to the Newburg/Dundee/Carlton wine country.  We’ve been to several in the area before, so we decided that we would make some stops at places that we had never been to before.

Our first stop was at Carlo and Julian Winery.  It is located in a shop behind the owner’s house, complete with cats and chickens and a little girl running around.  They are very friendly people, but we couldn’t help feeling like we were imposing a bit.  We were the only ones there, but it was still early in the day.  We tasted several of their vintages of Pinot Noir, as well as a Tempranillo and a Malbec.  The Malbec was very good, but is was pricey, and good Malbecs are easy to come by at lower price points.  We ended up buying two bottles of Pinot Noir, 2006 and 2008.  Our opinion was that their Pinots didn’t have a lot of variation in taste between years.  We are curious to see how the 2008 ages.

Next we went into Carlton and wandered randomly down the street.  We stopped at Zenas Wines on the main street in Carlton.  The winemakers are two young brothers who are very interested in the technical aspects of winemaking.  If you are interested, they will go into great detail about the process.  What we found refreshing was coming across a winery that doesn’t focus on Pinot Noir, and makes some really great wines.  We liked them all and had a great time visiting.  We bought three bottles there, their 2007 Meritage, the Cabernet Franc, and their Riesling.  We will really enjoy these when we open them, I’m sure.

Zenas Winery storefront in Carlton, Oregon

A little further down, on the opposite side of the street is Alexana Winery.  They offer a Pinot Gris and two Pinot Noir’s, with grapes from different vineyards.  Their Pinots are excellent, but on the pricey side.  Their tasting includes their high priced Pinot Noir.  We loved it, but at $75, it is out of our price range.

All in all, a great day.  The weather was nice, everyone at all of the wineries was friendly and easy to talk to, and they are very proud of their wines.  Each day in the Willamette Valley is different, because it would take a lifetime to go to all the wineries.  We will certainly try though!