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Wines of Southern Oregon

August 2015

I’ve said it again and again: Oregon’s famous for Pinot Noir, but there is so much more to this state. I recently spent a month in Southern Oregon looking for great wines to share with you – four this month, and more throughout the year.

After meeting with over two dozen winemakers, what impressed me most was the huge variety – from Tempranillo and Syrah to Viognier and Marsanne Roussanne. And yes, a few great Pinot Noirs.

The Southern Oregon wine community has really come into its own over the past few years. Even the New York Times has taken notice, putting Southern Oregon wineries on the map with the article “Only Hours from Napa, but a World Away” last summer.

Our first red is the 2013 Grenache from Folin Cellars. While there is not a lot of Grenache planted in Oregon, Folin Cellars is dedicated to the continued evolution of this lush, delicate and approachable wine. Their 2013 Grenache has a sweet, ripe red fruit flavor with a a spicy component that shines through. Our second red comes, the 2011 Tradicion from Jaxon Vineyards, is a blend of equal parts Tempranillo and Grenache, producing a Spanish-style red blend. A rich, succulent wine with complex fruity aromas and earthy flavors.

As for whites: The Wooldridge Creek 2013 Gewürztraminer is the first Gewürztraminer that’s ever made the Cellar 503 cut and it is a special one! It has notes of spiced, poached pear and lemon cream pie with a clean mineral finish that is perfect for these lingering hot days of summer. The Season Cellars 2014 Viognier is tropical, with a dense bouquet of mandarin orange, star fruit, and banana that takes your palate to a rich, lush jungle of guava, pineapple, and passion fruit. Both of these wines are great for celebrating the lingering days of summer.

Stunning landscapes, gloriously warm weather, and a laid-back vibe amongst winemakers – not to mention a complete lack of traffic – makes Southern Oregon one of my favorite places to explore.