Back to school: Unusual Varietals

September 2017

The best part about my job is introducing people to new wineries – and even new varietals – that they’ve never heard of. There are a lot of unusual wines being made all over Oregon that are extraordinary.

Ever heard of Carménère or Verdejo or Pinotage ? All of these are being made in small batches here in Oregon by wonderfully obsessed winemakers dedicated to bringing unusual varietals to your table.

So to honor the back-to-school season, we’ve dedicated our September selections at Cellar 503 to learning about unusual varietals.

Our first red is a Carménère from Plaisance Ranch, one of the founding wineries in Southern Oregon's Applegate Valley. Owner and winemaker Joe Ginet is a successful farmer and cattle rancher. But he’s also an award-winning winemaker with one heckuva story.  Our second red is a Pinotage, a very unusual varietal to find in Oregon, from Chateau Lorane outside of Eugene whose owner and winemaker Linde Kester specializes in unusual varietals.

Our first white is an Albarino from Treos out of Monmouth.  Albarino is a popular varietal in Spain with a growing following here in the states. The three families who make up Treos have focused their energies on perfecting the crop yield in their vineyards and the results are complex with intense flavors and strong characteristics.  Our second white is a Verdejo from member favorite Red Lily Vineyards in Southern Oregon. Red Lily is known for their Tempranillo but their Verdejo is equally stunning and a rare find outside of Rueda. I hope you enjoy these unusual varietals as much as I did in finding them!