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Laurel Ridge Winery 2017 Oregon Roan

Staying true to the vision

David Teppola was one of the 1970s pioneers of Oregon wine, making several vintages with his business partner, Charles Coury (who famously smuggled grape vines from France in a suitcase).

Where to plant vines? For most early winemakers, they headed straight for the rich, deep volcanic Jory soils. But David understood that wine grapes grow best when the vines struggle and strain to grow. Tough growing conditions mean that the plant shifts its energies to reproduction (the grapes) rather than expansion (the vines).

So, he bucked the conventional wisdom and sited his vineyard in the nutrient-poor, sandy loam of the Yamhill-Carlton area. His peers thought he was crazy, planting vines up on the slope he called Finn Hill. But David was right. Today, Yamhill-Carlton is one of the finest wine-growing regions in Oregon.

David passed away in 2006, but his dream lives on. His wife, Susan, continues to operate the winery according to his vision, supported by his daughters, Kira and Maija. Sustainability remains at the center of everything they do at Laurel Ridge – and it means wines that highlight the fruit and the terroir, not winemaker fussiness.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Laurel Ridge Winery, Carlton, Oregon
2017 Oregon Roan

In France’s Rhône Valley, Syrah is king. Particularly in the north, you’ll find big, bold, spicy, tannic wines that explode on your palate.

The Oregon Roan (get it?) is Laurel Ridge’s signature red and its most beloved. Each vintage is a little different but it is always a love letter to Syrah. This Rogue Valley wine is, as you would expect, a big and bold wine that sees significant bottle aging before release. It is drinking beautifully right now, but I’d suggest you open it up and either decant it or let it air out for a few hours if you can hold out!

The 2017 Oregon Roan opens up with aromas of baking spices and cracked pepper. This gorgeously-colored wine has a big, rich mouthfeel that includes red fruit and a hint of molasses. There is a long smoky finish on this wine that makes it a great pairing for grilled meats and outdoor fires.

A Cellar 503 selection in May 2020, Women Winemakers Rogue Valley | Syrah