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Monday, August 20, 2012

A trip through Umpqua

Sandi and Tim took Sandiís mom Anne on a trip though the Umpqua wine region on Saturday. We were celebrating Anneís 75th birthday and wanted to show her Umpqua wines and then finish at Black Bird Bar and Grill, a great restaurant in downtown Roseburg. We hit 6 wineries in all, and had enough wine so that by the time we got to dinner, we did not finish the bottle of Malbec.  One of the highlights of the trip was Chateau NonChalant where Deborah was an excellent hostess and the grounds make for an excellent spot to stop and taste wine.

The wines were quite good and very reasonably priced. Their Tempranillo, Syrah and Pinot Gris were particular hits among our group and as it was Anneís birthday, she got to pick a free bottle and chose a Pinot Noir. This is now a must stop spot on our wine tours, with great wine and great atmosphere. 

We did stop by Abacela, but they were closed for a private event. I was very much looking forward to tasting their new releases, especially their Malbec, so as much as I am impressed that they will close the tasting room for events, I was disappointed that I couldnít taste that wine.


Another highlight was Hillcrest Winery. Hillcrest winery boasts Oregonís oldest estate winery and Dyson DeMara is a treat to listen to, he is passionate about wine making and is not afraid to take chances. He focuses on Old World wine making styles and has impressive offerings.

Of special note are the 2009 Pazzo Collina, Cabernet Sauvignon which is a very different Cab. This wine might not be appreciated by wine purists, but is so different that I had to have a bottle. The 2010 Inside Out, Pinot Noir Blanc was also a distinctive wine, and I couldnít live without it. This was a great experience with a great atmosphere and wonderful people to listen to about wine.

But I have to say, the hit of the day was TeSůAria Vineyard &Winery. Oregon Wine Geeks have tasted and well liked a couple of their wines, but I was confronted with eight different wines Iíd never had before. The amazing thing was, each was better than the one before it and they started off great! John Olsen was an absolute hoot to learn from and to say the John is high energy and driven about wine is to say the Earth is a big rock.

tesoria - John

 John had many exceptional wines and the wine geeks will be writing about some of them in the near future, but one story sticks out that Iíll just tantalize your interest in, and let John tell you the story. The wine is called Bullís Blood and it is based on Hungarian history. I would not do the story justice the way John can, so I invite you to go to the winery and hear it from John first hand.

After we tasted his offerings, he brought us into his barrel room for some barrel tastings that is one of my favorite things to do, taste the wines a wine maker is currently working with and listen to true passion about wine.


Finally we went to Black Bird Bar and Grill for an excellent dinner, and lo and behold, there was Abacelaís Malbec on the wine list! But it was not to be and is a measure of how good this wine is as they were sold out. So we did have an Argentinian Malbec that matched the dinner perfectly.

We got back to Medford, we had cases of wine from the Umpqua and another great day of wine and food that is available right here in Southern Oregon.  Happy Birthday Anne!



Posted By: Tim Morton @ 8:24:15 AM


Show All » Winery Visits » Umpqua Valley

Sunday, September 04, 2011

OWG Fridays, golf, food and Umpqua Valley wine

After the weekly golf game for the Oregon Wine Geeks at Centennial Golf course on Friday, two of the Oregon Wine Geeks and an Oregon Wine Goddess, (we just call her Sandi), headed for the Umpqua Valley for a quick trip to taste at 4 or 5 producers. We made it through 3, but it was a really exciting trip none the less. We took the Prius north to our first stop in the Umpqua Valley at Pyrenees South. It's a cute tasting room in an old barn like structure between the vineyard and the Umpqua River.

Tasting room at Pyrenees South

We had a full flight with Laura Ruiz behind the bar pouring us all wines we asked for and told us about each wine with clarity and knowledge. Our favorites for the stop were the 2009 Riesling, 2009 Meritage, and the 2008 Syrah. These folks are worth a stop, all summer they have entertainment on the weekends at both North and South locations. Pyrenees is an evolving producer whose offerings are improving with each tasting.

From Pyrenees we were back on the road toward Roseburg and on to Abacela Vineyards new tasting room. The new tasting room is tremendous with great views of the beautiful Abacela Property. The Spanish inspired varietal wines at Abacela are some of the most interesting and well received wines in Oregon. We picked up both the 2008 Malbec and 2008 Cabernet Franc for further tasting, we also liked the 2006 Garnarcha which is a library release available until the 2009 is released. It is well aged and very tasty at this point.

A view of Abacela's Vineyards looking North

From Abacela we headed east to Spangler Vineyards, having tasted Pat Spangler's award winning wines at the World of Wine Festival the week before. The plan was to have a flight and move on to Hillcrest Vineyards but Pat Spangler changed our plans. We were met by Pat's wife Loreen and Katie Shook in the tasting room and started in. We worked the whole flight when Pat came in from trimming clusters off the vines; the vineyards come right up next to the parking lot. He took us down the rabbit hole into the winery with him and we barrel tasted and got to learn about winemaking from an expert and really thoughtful guy. Pat let us taste the same wine in several different kinds of barrels, talking about the differences. He took use through nuance and his thoughts on how he would blend the barrels and varietals into the wonderful wines he produces. We are at this point after closing time for the tasting room but back we go for whites, unlabeled reds and more talking and tasting wine. Luckily Katie who we'd ask earlier for advice on a good dining spot had made us a reservation at Blackbird Bar and Grill in downtown Roseburg. We said our goodbyes and left with 16 bottles of wine looking forward to dinner.

Spangler Vineyards Facebook Profile

We picked up the following at Spangler, 2007 and 2008 Claret, 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Viognier, 2008 Petite Verdot, 2008 Petite Sirah, and the 2009 Grenache. Now don't think we didn't like the Cab Franc, we did but already had some. I don't want to leave out a really nice 2009 un-oaked Chardonnay which also was excellent. This is a producer to watch, some of the best reds we have in Southern Oregon. Every one of these wines on my notes is listed in 88+ column or better. They also have a tasting room in Newberg so there are no reasons to miss these fine wines so put them on your visit list. PS, those of us with kids along will like Spangler Vineyards where a kid's area is set aside for them while your tasting.

We went off to dinner at Blackbird Bar and Grillin Roseburg it's an upbeat place downtown on Jackson Street. The Service was great and the food best described as New American Cuisine of gourmet comfort food. We had a bottle of Spangler Cabernet Franc with a dinner of New York steaks and pork steaks, followed by pressed coffee and Chocolate CrŤme Brulee.

Blackbird Bar and Grill

It was a wonderful day all in all with a quiet drive home, but then the next day someone must put all of this wine into Cellarmaster and put it away in the racks. Need to get this done and still get out to Folin to do blending with the Ambassador's wine club there, then a Taste of Harry and David.. But that's another story.

Posted By: Ted Weldon @ 8:07:44 PM


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