Quady North 2016 Steel-Ox Viognier

A rebel goes north to southern Oregon

In the San Joaquin Valley of California, the name Quady means world-renowned dessert wines and aperitifs, orange muscats that explode like a sunburst on the tongue.

A second-generation winemaker, it would have been easy for Herb Quady to stick with the family business. But Herb Quady has never done the easy thing. Or the expected thing.

So, Quady went north to Oregon to build his own winemaking career. To a place where the wine industry still welcomes rebellious sorts that don’t take themselves too seriously.

And he started making big reds and bright whites, leading with unusual varietals, like Grenache Blanc and Mourvedre, Viognier and Cabernet Franc. And Herb loves to shock folks by selling some of his wines as box wines – enclosed inside ammo boxes. But the rebel is building quite a reputation, with folks all around wearing t-shirts proclaiming, “Herb is my winemaker.” Which leads to an important question: Can you still be a rebel when you’re the king?

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Quady North, Jacksonville, Oregon
2016 Steel-Ox Viognier

Viognier has been a staple of Southern Oregon vineyards since the late 1990s. A Rhône varietal, it’s popular with winemakers because it’s easy to grow and versatile enough to be used in traditional and non-traditional styles. It’s popular with wine drinkers because it’s so, so good. “Oh baby! Viognaayyy!” is often heard at our Pour Oregon wine festival.

Herb Quady is known for his love of Viognier, producing single vineyard editions, multisite blends, and blends with other white wine grapes. The Steel-Ox is a special treat that appears about twice a decade. It’s a blend from two well-known vineyards in Southern Oregon, the Steelhead Run and Ox-Block vineyards. Most years, Herb makes two single-vineyard bottlings, as the two sites don’t play nice with each other – but in 2015, they fit together “like lock and key,” according to Herb.

The Ox-Block brings the richer flavors with more tannins and a distinct citrus skin aroma while the Steelhead is bright, fresh, and racy. Together they produce a wonderfully balanced wine that’s so juicy and rich that Herb calls it “hedonistic”. Indeed.

A Cellar 503 selection in January 2019, Oregon Classics Applegate Valley | Viognier

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