Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jacksonville, Medford, and Grass Pants, part two of three

Oh what a beautiful morning! raining in Medford and Jacksonville but as I entered the Applegate Valley, the clouds opened and the sun began to shine.
I had a loose appointment with Bill at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden and had a really pleasant drive through the southern valley. Cow Horn is a biodynamic vineyard that produces award winning wines. Northwest Palette says: There’s much buzz about biodynamics in the Northwest wine world. A kind of über-organic agriculture discipline, it sees the farm as a holistic energy system, and demands extra time, care, and commitment from the farmer. If you want to know how good biodynamically grown and made wine can taste, seek out this wine from Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley. (more) 
Bill offered up a bottle of the Spiral 36($18) a Rhône-style white blend of Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne. 
He also offered a tour and tasting for six as an auction item. He was getting ready to bottle but was happy to show me around and show me the new area of vineyards they are planting. He was also excited about an article about the recycling programs they have for bottles and corks. Watch the video here
They have their own bottling line and they were cleaning it while I was there. There is a LOT of cleaning involved in winemaking, mostly to control unwanted yeasts. I did not want to hold him up so I took off to my next stop, Valley View Winery. They 
don't open until 11:00 so I stopped at the Outpost for some great chili and conversation with Tiffany, the owner the Outpost and the Feed store. She has been working on this project for a year. After the former tenet left she decided to take a chance. While I was there she sold  a fishing license and tag, and got a request for a bunch of washers by a guy working on his boat. Stop by for a visit and say hello.
 When I got to Valley View Winery I had time to taste while waiting for Mark Wisnovsky the President, to get out of his meeting.  Sarah led me through tastings of:
'08 Viognier: Lower in alcohol, fresh nose of bright fruit and vanilla and peach on the tongue. Nice finish.
Anna Maria Chardonnay 2007: Very nice. After 30 years of winemaking they still have it right! Nose of citrus, pineapple, and with a taste of vanilla, fresh pineapple, and butterscotch. I recommend it with crab cakes.
Anna Maria Syrah Rogue Valley 2006: 2 years in oak give this a slight maple syrup, dark black cherry, and ripe plum, back taste of plum and spice.
 Anna Maria Merlot 2004: 9 months in oak give this a nice sweet butter under taste with black current and a great acid/sugar balance.
Anna Maria Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: This one wins Gold at this weekends Newport Wine and Seafood festival!  Black cherry and ripe plum, overtones of vanilla, and earth with aftertaste of vanilla and plum. Really a great wine!
Mark came out of his meeting and after some consideration, gave a bottle of the '06 Cabernet Sauvignon($24). One of my all time favorite Cabs came from Valley View way back in 1978.I had just returned from Germany for a visit before coming back permanently and drove my little 912 down to Ashland for a play and made a stop at one of the only wineries around. Anne sold me a case of the 1976 Cab and I got stung on the wrist by a hornet and dropped a bottle. What a waste! I wish I still had a bottle of that one.
Next stop, Fiasco. I interrupted Pamela, who was looking for a little solitude and instead, got me. If you have not been to visit them, go soon! The tasting room, their ideas, and the wine, are all worth the trip. They have a dirt floor, wine in barrels, and they sell jugs to the locals just like they do in Europe, where you can refill your jar of house wine. Very clever. Pamela led me though several of the wines from both Fiasco and from Jacksonville Winery which they also own. They donated one bottle from each winery.
From Fiasco, '05 Cabernet Sauvignon($38): Aged 38 months in French oak, this Cabernet is 85% Cab Sauv and 15% Merlot. Straw and earth with berry on the nose, rich plum and cherry with notes of vanilla and sage, cedar and toasted bread.
From Jacksonville Vineyard, '06 Merlot : Aged in oak for 30 months. Annis, clove, and sweet beery nose, lots of dry plum and dark berry flavors. Nice lasting finish.
I also recommend the '06 Super Tuscan, very good lighter red with great acid balance. Try it with Red sauce!  Really, all the wines I tasted were good to great. They are frequent award winners and should be a for sure stop on your trips South.
I did not get to taste at Longsword Vineyard but Tony gave me a bottle of their Accolade, a sparkling wine made originally for a family wedding but continued because of the demand. Love this one. We had some a few years ago when the tasting room was out by the road in a little fruit stand!
 I ask Matthew Sorensen about the rocks I had seen on the way in under the rows and he said "Got lots of rocks and this keeps the weeds down, keeps the vines warm, and collects moisture." It may take him a while to do all the rows but like he said, lots of rocks. Looks cool also!Devitt Winery is lust up the road and has a long history in wine. Brendon gave a gift certificate good foe ANY bottle(up to $35) of their wine. His grandfather, who owned and made wine for Pope Valley Winery in Napa, makes all the wines and they are tasty indeed!
Tasting the wines was a treat.The '07 Precipice: A 50/50 blend of Merlot and Zin, this wine gives up cane berry, chocolate, and spice to the nose,  with pepper front and back, and black current and sweet cherry notes.
Next came a smokey berry filled '07 Syrah with a rich mouthfeel and hints fo burnt sugar on the sides of the tongue.
My favorite is the '05 Cabernet Sauvignon: Black currents over dry blackberry and hint of sweet plum. Very good wine with lots of subtle flavors unfolding as you sip. I did not taste the 2007 Le Petite Oink" Labled and bottled as "WHEN PIGS FLY" but I plan on acquiring a bottle for a very good friend as a gift. He collects pigs and is one of the finest winemakers in Oregon, and he has a sense of humor!

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