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Show All » Winery Visits » Umpqua Valley

Monday, August 20, 2012

A trip through Umpqua

Sandi and Tim took Sandi’s mom Anne on a trip though the Umpqua wine region on Saturday. We were celebrating Anne’s 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 Anne’s 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 couldn’t taste that wine.


Another highlight was Hillcrest Winery. Hillcrest winery boasts Oregon’s 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 couldn’t 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 TeSóAria Vineyard &Winery. Oregon Wine Geeks have tasted and well liked a couple of their wines, but I was confronted with eight different wines I’d 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 I’ll just tantalize your interest in, and let John tell you the story. The wine is called Bull’s 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 Abacela’s 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 » Applegate Valley

Monday, November 07, 2011

A Great Day in Southern Oregon

A Great day in Southern Oregon

It was a cold and stormy day…well not really stormy, but certainly cold, when Sandi and I headed out to the Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden wine pickup party. We'd been looking forward to getting out to Cowhorn all week to see what food they were pairing with which wines and restocking the cellar.

But before we got there we took a chance that Cricket Hill Winery was open so we went up Little Applegate Road and found Duane Bowman pouring wine. It is always special treat for us to listen to the owner and wine maker talk about wine making and wine. Cricket Hill is unique in that they only make right bank Bordeaux style wines…mostly. I say that because the blends were excellent, but he also had a Cabernet Franc that had been in the barrel five years, that I couldn't live without (formal tasting note here, it went 94 points). An excellent visit and I learned quite a bit from Duane in that short tasting. Cricket Hill wine is worth the effort to get out to this tasting room.

We were then off to Cowhorn where we found Josh Kimball, the sales manager of Cowhorn wines, with samples of the 2010 Viognier in hand and a fairly full house of club members and treats from Amuse. Barbara and Bill were also pouring and gave talks about this part of the wine making process which was very enlightening.

Barbara's thought that “In the summer nature's activity is outside, while the yeast is dormant. Then as the vines become dormant, the winery creates an environment where the yeast starts working and the activity moves inside. “The lesson that I got was that Cowhorn sets up the environment for the yeast to work and then they let the natural yeast “unlock the secrets” of the grapes that they built up during the summer. Bill talked about the process and their new experiment of completely whole cluster fermentation. This was a lot of fun; we had good wine, good food, and learned more about wine making. These are the wine club events that really make being in a wine club enjoyable, entertaining and educational.

Coming back from Cowhorn's we stopped at Valley View Winery for a tasting. The 2006 Tempranillo was very good as well as the Claret. At this point we had done all the wine tasting we needed for one day and started thinking about dinner.

We headed back to Jacksonville to try something new.

We had not been to Gogi's for dinner so we stopped by and managed to get a table without reservations. I highly recommend making reservations, we were lucky to get seated without them. The food was excellent, we picked a 2005 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape that was sure to match any entre' we selected. It was a delightful wine and a meal to savor.

Sandi and I looked at each other and had to toast a great day roaming the Applegate. We got to visit interesting and fun people, find wonderful wine and outstanding food. A day like that serves to remind us how fortunate we are to live in such an environment.

Another day in Southern Oregon spent with Southern Oregon Wines!

Posted By: Tim Morton @ 7:42:49 PM


Show All » Winery Visits » Rogue Valley

Monday, September 05, 2011

Folin Cellars Ambassador Club Blending Day

On Saturday the Oregon Wine Geeks and the Oregon wine goddess (that would be Sandi) got a chance to be wine makers for a day as part of the Ambassador Club Day event that Folin Cellars holds for its wine club members. The event was held at Folin Cellars in the Rogue Valley on the winery crush pad with wine and blending equipment for wine club members and guests to experiment with wine blending. We were to take four different varietals: Syrah, Tempranillo , Mouvedre, and Petite Syrah and create a blend.

We were given all the equipment we would need to blend these varietals in any manner we chose, but needed to keep strict track of the percentages of what went into our blend. The blends were then submitted to Rob Folin to choose the next Ambassador's Cuvee. We needed to make sure and create 40ml of our blends and Rob promised to tease anyone who couldn't add or calculate percentages. This seemingly simple task was very interesting and thought provoking: different amounts of these wines provided an amazing array of different effects. This was no simple task! This proved to be quite an education in just one of the many facets of making wine.

Posted By: Tim Morton @ 8:31:31 PM


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 Crčme 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


Show All » Winery Visits » Applegate Valley

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wine Geeks Adventure through the Applegate

The wine geeks headed out Friday to Troon Vineyards  for a wonderful chat and wine tasting with Christine Collier, Marketing and Events Coordinator and owner/vintner Chris Martin. We were treated to tastings of Troon’s fine wines and found several we particularly liked: The 2009 Druid’s Fluid is very much an approachable, enjoyable table wine; the Meritage we enjoyed immensely and the Reserve Zinfandel was outstanding. We spent quite a bit of time listening to Chris and Christine and their passion for wine and for Troon. Anytime I get a chance to hear from people who do this for a living, it is an event that makes a lasting impression.

But that wasn’t the end of our adventure as we headed out from Troon and arrived at Rosella’s Winerynext. Sandy was serving on Friday and has Rosella’s usual selection of excellent wines.  She treated us to some of her last Cabernet Sauvignons and some of the newer releases.  The 2005 is ready to drink now and is soft, balanced with subtle complexity. I couldn’t live without the 2008 Merlot so I bought several bottles of that.

We had heard there was a new tasting room in Jacksonville behind the Umpqua tasting room, but hadn’t found it. We were certainly stopping by Herb Quady’s Tasting room to get more of Quady’s Starboard port, of which they were out. Oh the horror!, Ted through persistent hounding did determine that the Quady website in California still has stock though.   But we did have a sip of their Silver medal winning Steelhead Vineyard Syrah (from the Oregon Wine Geeks Syrah tasting), as well as Quady North’s Flagship Syrah which can make you week at the knees it is so good. But we did make it to Merrill Cellars new tasting room which is tucked in behind the Umpqua tasting room and sampled some of O. Jay Merrill’s wines in what may be the “smallest tasting room in Jacksonville”.  The Cotes Du Rogue name is worth a stop in of itself!  Merrill Cellarsis now on the OWG website for your perusal.

Thank you again Christine and Chris for your excellent hospitality!

Wine Type: Wine
Posted By: Tim & Ted @ 2:04:13 PM


Show All » Winery Visits » Rogue Valley

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aurora Open for Tasting

During a small trip through the Rogue Valley tasting wine on Sunday, we learned that Aurora winery was open, so we made a bee line for the winery.
We were greeted by Lilly a friendly dog that's just a year old, followed by Vicki Nickerson who is the owner of Aurora Winery (and Lilly).
We had the tasting on Ms. Nicrkerson's porch, with a beautiful view of vineyards and the valley and treated to a wonderful spread of strawberries, crackers, cheeses and a tasting of three wines: two Merlot and one Pinot Gris.

The Pinot Gris was made by A to Z with Vicki's grapes, and the Merlot were two vintages from 2004 and 2005 respectively.

The 2004 was nicely aged with good much so that I couldn't live without a couple of bottles, tasting notes will be forthcoming.

I highly recommend a visit to Aurora, Vicki is a wonderful hostess! The hours are in flux a bit so it would be best to call ahead for now:

Aurora Vines

2275 Pioneer Rd. Talent
(541) 535-5287 |

Located on a picturesque 87 acre mountain estate in an area rich in scenery and wildlife. Come enjoy our Bordeaux style Merlots and a unique tasting experience from our deck overlooking our upper valley vineyard.

Hours: By Appointment (One Day in Advance)

Posted By: Tim Morton @ 10:02:12 AM


Show All » Winery Visits » Rogue Valley

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wines from Roam the Rogue

These are the wines that we tasted Roaming the Rogue last weekend. If you spot any errors let us know.

Agate Ridge Vineyard:
2010 Weekend White
2009 Viognier Barrel Fermented
2008 Primitivo

Crater Lake Cellars:
2009 Riesling (sweet)
2009 Riesling (Dry)
2008 Syrah
2006 Merlot "29" ,(Oregon Wine Geek Pick)
NV Fire House Red #4

Cliff Creek:
2010 Marsanne Roussane
2006 Syrah
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Folin Cellars, (Ambassadors Tasting):
2008 Mouvedre
2008 Petite Sirah
2005 Tempranillo Reserve, (Oregon Wine Geek Pick)
2007 Tempranillo

Folin Cellars, (Regular Tasting)
2009 Estate Viognier
2007 Temprinillo
2007 Estate Syrah

Del Rio Vineyards:
2009 Claret
2009 Pinot Gris
NV Rose Jolee

Daisy Creek/Madrone Mountain:
2008 Viognier
2008 Lyon Red
2009 Starthistle Cuvee, (Oregon Wine Geek Pick)
2005 Mundo Novo

Roxy Ann Winery:
2008 Viognier
2008 Honor Barn Red
2009 Pinot Gris

Wine Type:
Posted By: Oregon Wine Geeks @ 10:18:52 AM


Show All » Winery Visits » Applegate Valley

Sunday, June 05, 2011

June Cliff Creek Happenings

Cliff Creek Cellars Happenings!


 Discover the good life in Carlton. 

Join us for Carlton Quest '11,

Carlton Quest

 a city-wide scavenger hunt, community celebration

 and all-around good time with incredible

 local food, wine, and art.

 Click on Carlton Quest for more info and to buy tickets!



Second Saturday's at the Vineyard


gone cheesy 1



June 26 at Cana's Feast  

Our 2nd annual event showcasing varietals from Southern Spain, the South of France and the Iberian Peninsula that are actually made right here in Oregon. Many regional wineries join in the fun, which also features lunch selections from the Cucina, olive oil tasting with Fenuchi Oil and live acoustic music. Like a taste of the sunny Mediterranean in downtown Carlton, don't miss it. More info:

Wine Type:
Posted By: Oregon Wine Geek @ 8:17:38 AM


Show All » Winery Visits » Rogue Valley

Friday, June 03, 2011

A stop at Pebblestone, and Cabernet Franc Vertical

The entire Oregon Wine Geek crew stopped at Pebblestone Cellars today to pick up their allocation and Sample the Cabernet Franc Vertical they are pouring in the tasting room this weekend.  The vertical is the 05, 06 and 07 Pebblestone Cab Franc.  The 2007, a gold winner at the SF Chronicle this year,  is available for purchase, the others are library wines and unavailable.  The juxtaposition of the vintages is interesting and well worth a stop to give it a try.   The wine club allocations also includes an excellent 2009 Pinot Gris.

Posted By: Oregon Wine Geek @ 5:21:13 PM


Show All » Winery Visits » Applegate Valley

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wine Geeks Roam the Rogue

We did Roam the Rogue yesterday , 7 couples in a limousine  and had a great Time.  We started at Agate Ridge ended at Roxy Ann.  In addition to those 2 wineries made stops and had the wine at Crater Lake Cellars, Cliff Creek, Folin Cellars, Del Rio, and Daisy Creek-Madrone Mountain tasting room.  The Oregon Wine Geeks wines of the day were:

Folin Cellars 2005 Reserve Tempranillo

Crater Lake Cellars 2006 Merlot "29"

Madrone Mountains 2007 Star Thistle Cuvee

Over all a nice day of wine, friends and fun.



Posted By: Oregon Wine Geek @ 7:44:54 AM


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